top of page
  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Mediation can be the light at the end of the tunnel

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, 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.

After a very long tunnel where "bashing your head doesn't cause brain injury" seemed to be the bizarre thinking in sports things are beginning to change. Thankfully it’s now being accepted by sports that using your head to hit things (balls or other players) carries with it a risk of brain injury. IN the US there’s been an ongoing class action for NFL sports ball players which had been ordered into mediation.

Now two former NFL players Najeh Davenport and Kevin Henry have applied to intervene on the grounds that the counsel involved has so far maintained the status quo in respect of race discrimination within the sport saying that Seeger Weiss “cannot adequately represent the interests of Black former players on the issue.”

Cy Smith of the firm Zuckerman Spaeder for Davenport and Henry said in submissions that “Class Counsel Seeger Weiss cannot be solely entrusted with eradicating a discriminatory practice that it has had a role in effectuating, has allowed to continue, and does not view as discriminatory”

The issue raises its head as the measure of damage is in part assessed using test scores based on “normal” scores , a practice known as “race-norming”. The “norms” assume that average black players start with a lower cognitive level of function than your average white player, black players have to show an even larger level of damage to cognitive ability to establish a claim for damages.

Davenport said “they [the NFL] use a different scale for African-Americans versus any other race? That’s literally the definition of systematic racism.”

Mediation is great when used correctly but the parties have to have faith that the mediator will represent the interests of all parties and not simply adopt “accepted” practice especially in this type of claim where the established practice is part of the problem.

Interesting article from John Sturrock this week regarding the breakdown in relationship (understatement by me) between Alex Salmond and his one-time protégé and best leader of a home nation 2020 winner Nicola Sturgeon.

John also quotes the report from the Scottish Parliament Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee’s regarding the procurement process for two new ferries for Caledonian MacBrayne in which the committee says mediation should have been pursued earlier and more proactively. How many times have we wished courts would say the same thing?

In looking at recent works by Dr Anna Howard, John goes on to say part of the reason is a mistrust or misunderstanding of mediation and that by pitting ourselves against litigation we create a false contest. Better to explain that mediation (whilst asking more of clients than litigation) is an extension of natural discussions in an effort to find ways forward and is in no way an admission of failure, or indeed that something is wrong. In many work places people talk abut a “fresh set of eyes”, I’m familiar in both a legal and NHS atmosphere that sometimes you need a third party to look at things anew and help parties see things differently. It’s why in mediation we ask so much, listen to the replies and encourage the parties to open up rather than lock up and dig in.

A mediation success story now from Rockingham (nothing to do with the Fintstones) it’s a city in Richmond County, North Carolina. Where there was a change in how revenue was shared between the county and six municipalities in April 2020 moving from per capita distribution to ad valorem.

This change left the municipalities in a worse position. A breach of contract claim was made and ultimately the parties agreed to attend mediation. The mediation has resulted in an agreement that the parties will now discuss how the new division method will operate in practice though the threat of further action remains on the table it is hoped that by having reached some agreement in mediation the parties have a base from which to work towards a complete agreement and avoid any further litigation.

In the ongoing dispute about the Cambridge School mascot and team nick name “the Indians” the parties have agreed that involving a mediator is the way to find a resolution. This again shows that identifying a problem or issue can be the start of a co-operative process which mediation embodies.

In a situation where parties have polarised views it’s always difficult to help the sides see what benefit will be gained from mediation, until they actually begin mediating. Hearing and listening to the other side’s objections or opinions is informative and helps each party understand the point of view of the other and realise where sensitivities lie.

One side will think it is blindingly obvious why the nickname is offensive but if they do not explain this to the other side no progress can be made, it’s why today’s polarised politics leaves so many behind, not being able to have a reasoned discussion and be able to learn stops all debate and leaves everyone feeling dejected.

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 the tunnel and see the light. 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

7 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page