Lockdown is the ideal time to mediate
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 uses Zoom, Whereby, 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 can be no physical meeting.
Only last week we were reporting on the mediation between James Dolan and Charles Oakley now it seems Dolan has contracted coronavirus so cannot take part and Oakley is also being excused attendance by the court.
To me this is no longer mediation, the interested parties are not there to discuss their underlying issues, to “thrash it out” to be heard and to listen to each other.
This is a negotiation by their lawyers, and as one report suggests is more than likely going to end in a stand off.
If the lawyers could have reached settlement they would have done already.
Whilst the intervention of a good mediator is key to the success of a mediation it is highly unlikely that a conclusion will be reached without the parties’ taking part. Given both parties are well enough to continue remote working it seems astounding that the mediation will proceed without the parties.
Joe Murphy highlights the issues with civil jury trials (a rarity in the UK) getting back on track even by mid-Summer next year given that all criminal trials are likely to take precedence. He correctly states that the ease with which mediators have picked up the baton shouldn’t surprise anyone, we are problem solvers, out of the box thinkers and pushers of envelopes (if on occasion also over users of cliché).
I had a Zoom coffee morning this week as well as a Zoom meeting with fellow mediators and separately my PPC.
I spoke to some clients via Skype and arranged a Facetime meeting with some others.
Clients are no where near as scared of the technology as some seem to expect it is the future forced upon us in horrendous circumstances but necessity is the mother of invention (or in this case he mother of attention to what had already been happening).
The courts seem to have been the slowest to identify the need for video conferencing and are heralding one or two successes as if that represents the reality on the ground, which is that judges’ clerks are trying to organise hearings using the (in my humble experience) glitchy Skype for Business, this should have been in place years ago not as a last ditch effort to keep the system limping along.
Having scheduled calls (particularly where litigants act in person) will force the courts to finally re-appraise the timings of hearings and to HMCTS maybe justify hiring some additional staff to make sure all the virtual paperwork matches and that case management is finally taken in hand by the court not just given lip-service.
The impact of the pandemic continues in allowing all parties further time in various cases, see here the deadline extended from 3rd to the 30th April for the Wells Fargo & Co cases against their whistle-blowers. The former employees allege that Wells lied about their finances in order to get funds from the US government during the 2008 financial crisis (the last time the economy was too big to fail).
Not everyone is convinced that money spent on mediation is worthwhile. In this report there is criticism of four out of the seven city boards in Christchurch (NZ) spending $11,500 on mediation services. Boards are the lowest form of government, we don’t really have an equivalent in the UK, they’re a bit parish church council, a bit rotary club.
What the report doesn’t say is what was at stake and how much was saved by using mediators instead of going to court.
In fact on closer examination the costs are spread over 3 years and in one case (where over half the amount mentioned above was incurred) it involved a dispute between two boards. It strikes me that money will have been saved where clashing board members need help getting over an impasse, just because other boards have not utilised the services of a mediation practice does not mean that those that do are in the wrong.
As we’ve said before choose to mediate early and resolve your issues effectively, quickly and with less stress and costs than going to your solicitor. 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 (and some lawyers) 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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