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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Just a gap filler

With the continued backlog of cases mediation is even more so now than ever the best choice to find a resolution for your dispute. Get your dispute resolved now while you can’t go anywhere you can really concentrate on what’s important and what deserves your time and energy.

Northwest Mediation continues to use Zoom, Skype and FaceTime as well as the phone and emails to resolve disputes should we add we also do live in person mediation too! So please do not feel that you cannot contact us if you would like to mediate but wish to do so remotely.

I was going to moderate this a bit but as the wife got rushed into hospital with a suspected stroke I've left my frustration out on display, apologies if anyone's offended by it.

It’s incredibly frustrating to find the piece of work you submitted as completed is not, especially when you’ve had others check it before submission. I cannot tell you how discouraging the bureaucracy in this business can be sometimes, I purposefully don’t do legal aid work for this reason but it seems that even to get the next “badge” on my jacket I need to submit more examples of work, which I’ve been doing since 2015 without problem.

It’s an unfortunate result of the mediation practice becoming a profession dominated by lawyers, boxes need ticking – which is weird because outside the box is where most of my work thrives. It’s probably a good job no-one reads this page but I find myself close to chucking it in this week, I’ve helped hundreds of people in dispute but my confidence has really been knocked by the bean counters in the back room.

I saw some lovely mediation work this weekend for instance by someone who’s not a mediator but who used all the skills involved to resolve a family issue between two brothers, one a writer one a different kind of artist. The non-mediator listened to both sides, got them to explain their issues to each other in a way they could each understand and found an agreed solution it could have turned violent but it didn’t due to the way she encouraged and listened. She’d not be able to sign a MIAM form but by crikey she mediated.

Anyway in more positive news a good meeting with a new local contact which may result in quite a bit more work coming in to Northwest Mediation, so I better not chuck the towel in just yet, a meeting which took place not half a mile from the location where NWM was born and equally close to the location of the case that sent me down the mediation route commenced.

And what, grumpy write, you may ask is happening in the rest of the mediation world?

Speaking of bureaucracy, under the auspices of the high court of India advocates must now attend 40 hours’ worth of mandatory mediation training, not a bad thing in and of itself but to give you some context 40 hours is more than the time you need to spend actively conducting mediations to be a civil mediator in the UK (I’ve lost count of the hours I’ve done as after qualification once you’re doing the work it becomes pretty much a full time job).

Meanwhile the case against universities for issues arising from covid delays has been ordered to ADR, effectively removing the voluntary nature of taking part in mediation but of course the solution remains voluntary.

UCL’s Vice-Provost (Education & Student Experience), Professor Kathleen Armour released a statement saying

“We know that the last few years has been a very difficult time for many students. They have faced challenges and disruption from COVID and, in some cases, industrial action too. Supporting our students, their wellbeing and their educational achievements is always UCL’s priority.

“Throughout the pandemic we prioritised the health and safety of our whole community and followed UK Government guidance, working tirelessly to make our campus and all UCL premises as safe as possible so that a high-quality academic experience could continue to be provided.

“We respect the right of our students to complain and seek redress if they feel that they have not received the support they expected from us. We still believe our complaints procedure represents the most efficient, cost-effective and swiftest way for students to resolve their complaints. We are pleased that the High Court has ordered that proceedings be stayed to allow for the parties to attempt to resolve the students’ claims without the need for further litigation, and that the Court has recognised the part our complaints procedure can play.

“We remain confident that our complaints process is the best route for our students. Should anyone be unsatisfied with our response to their complaint, they also have the further option of asking the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education, the appointed independent body for student complaints, to review UCL’s decision.”

Unless I misunderstand the court clearly thinks the complaints procedure isn’t good enough staying the case to allow for the ADR process to take place.

In new Delhi a law has now been passed requiring anyone in a civil dispute to attempt mediation before approaching court or tribunal, it’s the equivalent of the CPR pre action protocol that requires litigation to be the last option not the first. Good to see this kind of positive hoop jumping being put in place.

I’ll be back to normal next week, hopefully buoyed up by this government getting a beating at the polls but until then if you feel your own black dog returning do seek assistance, I’ll be screaming into the void for a while just yet.

The three pillars of mediation remain it’s voluntary (at the moment), it’s confidential, the mediator is independent, by using those pillars to support your work the parties keep control, save costs, save time and energy and reduce stress. Finally this one is mediation, mediator jointly appointed, areas of discussion agreed and intention to be bound by the outcome.

In person or via electronic media as we’ve said before choose to mediate early and resolve your issues effectively, timeously, and with less stress and costs than going to your solicitor so you can get out choose a different path, not quite the road less travelled but perhaps the path less adversarial. You have an interest in the outcome the sooner you get round the mediation table the quicker you can move forward and avoid the grilling a cross examination in court would put you through.

By having a deep and meaningful discussions with parties the mediator elicits what the true “red-lines” are and where there is the potential for compromise, it is with this structured period of reflection that the parties are then able to reach an accord.

The flexible nature of mediation and the possible outcomes make it an ideal way to resolve disputes in an ever-changing world and the open nature of discussions in mediation whilst remaining confidential allows all sides to engage fully in the process and understand the needs of all involved allowing parties to reach a conclusion which both sides can live with and move on.

There are so many situations which could have been resolved by early intervention of mediation it continues to surprise me the lengths the public will go to avoid referral.

Whether you need a mediator to help out with a construction matter in the Northwest, or council’s plans in Cheshire, a civil mediator in London, a commercial mediator in Manchester, a dispute resolution for your family in Liverpool, a neighbourhood mediation in Stockport, then our mediators at Northwest Mediation can help.

Mediation is cheaper, quicker and less stressful than running any case to court, it can help with any dispute whether it's an employment issue or the sale at an under value of a property, a fight with a neighbour, family issues, commercial disputes, civil mediation or inheritance, wills and probate arguments contact Northwest Mediation on 0161 667 4418 or via email at

neighbour mediation; commercial dispute resolution; civil mediation; commercial dispute; corporate dispute; commercial mediator; family mediation; inheritance wills probate mediation; property mediator; civil mediator; civil litigation; fast track mediation; injury mediation

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