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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Lies, damned lies and mediation

With the limited access to courts and lawyers 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 so please do not feel that you cannot contact us as there are limits on physical meetings.

Lying is something people do a lot in mediation, to me, to the other party to themselves. It’s rarely intentional but when it is obvious I’m allowed to call it out (and have done on one occasion even saying “to use your phrase I’m calling that bullshit” to a client who took it as intended). There’s a gulf between different recollections (which are common place and not lying simply the same events from a different view point) and outright saying something is a fact which is not. Gas lighting as it has become known in modern parlance the insistence by one party that this is true even when the recipient know it’s not has been a trait of abusive relationships for years, sadly I see it in members of my own family and we’ve all been suffering it from the PM recently. I never intended the blog to be political it’s simply a vehicle to keep the google trawlers spotting my website and directing traffic but when you find clients are despondent because they see people in positions of power acting in manners that their former partners do it’s hard not to feel aggrieved and to demand change.

I don’t fib, lie or obfuscate in mediaitons, it’s neither helpful nor professional, it allows clients to be confident in what I am saying and what I pass to the other side is what we have agreed I will say, I don’t know any job where lying outright is acceptable (and I speak as a lawyer!) spin is different, opinion is different but lying is wrong. And apologies don’t count unless they are genuinely contrite.

Hopefully if not soon then later the current habit of openly lying in parliament will bite the liars in the ass but in the meantime let’s look at how mediation is shaping up in 2022.

In our first bit of crystal ball gazing Clifford Chance’s Oliver Carroll gives his predictions for mediation in the coming years (post Brexit, post pandemic post corruption in highest office). In short Oliver sees a world where online ADR including mediation is the norm with institutionalised mediation coming to the fore, he perhaps has his eye on the next article but more on that shortly and of course he notes the ongoing and widening impact of the Singapore Convention which we’ve spoken about before.

At the smallest end of the claims spectrum are small claims, the top figure occasionally rises so that more cases fall into the small claims track but going forward the CJC wants the very smallest, under £500, to have a new pre action protocol which will even further encourage (not force) mediation and ADR to be part of the pre-litigation world.

If you have a small claim and want small claims mediation contact me directly to discuss incredibly low fees available to you, only incurred if we get into mediation, not before, you will be pleasantly surprised how often a low value issue (which is not to say low impact on you) can be solved by a few phone calls or a joint meeting and you’d be staggered at how cheap the meetings could be. £150 for an hour’s worth of discussions might be enough to get your builder/broker/bank/council/window cleaner/client/customer to settle your claim and move on. It is, ahem, very small beer.

Whilst the mediation imperative is there it’s not yet compulsory but in this article Pillsbury partners Julia Belcher, Charles Goslong and Deborah Ruff along with associate Charlotte Stewart-Jones consider the upside of compulsion.

It forces the parties into a discussion early so that costs, time, stress can be saved at the earliest point, finding common ground, and indeed where the common ground runs out and the walls go up is equally as helpful. Encouraging parties to openly discuss their case is vital to prevent them digging themselves further into the trenches from which it is mentally far harder to drag yourself later in the case.

I love getting involved close to trial dates and saving the clients the horror of giving evidence in court (even if you’re in the right it’s no fun) but I’d much rather get involved at the earliest stage, save you the most money and time than at the last minute. Mediation works, it’s cheap, fast and effective, call me, you have nothing to lose.

The three pillars of mediation remain it’s voluntary, 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.

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 07931318347 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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