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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Mediation - change is opportunity

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.

Change, it comes to us all. At home this week our eldest left for university, the cutting of the apron strings continues apace and hopefully all those cookery lessons pay off (though now I think about it, given he’s sharing a kitchen with seven other students perhaps some more lessons in mediation would have been a better plan!).

I’ve been distracting myself from the sudden quiet by fiddling with the website as well this week, tweaking on a very amateur level learning about things such as SEOs and page speeds and trying to work out why anyone reads the blog other than a google trawler.

As I often say to clients change (like Thanos) is inevitable but how you adapt and react to change in one part of your life affects the rest of your life, so as in my case using the extra quiet and energy to review the website using it as a positive. Similarly with clients who face changes that they are perhaps initially ready to reject asking them to consider if there is a different, perhaps more productive way, to react to change is a key element in mediation. Not immediately assuming that X has it in for me at work but that X is perhaps struggling and asking what’s wrong rather than sending them away might produce surprising results that help your business and avoid problems coming up.

And speaking of how to react, when I saw the headline of this article I was expecting something quite different! It’s not an article about the use of cannabis to calm clients down during mediation but by a mediator who is involved in cases dealing with the now growing (wink) commercial market and inevitable disputes of legal cannabis production.

Jihee Ahn sets out the usual basics for mediation be prepared, be honest, be receptive, don’t give up too quickly and get the agreement signed (the one lasting issue with online remains getting signatures while people are still about). Whether it’s a dispute arising from farming or any other kind of business using a mediator is an ideal way to resolve your issue (though I should of course point out the legality of cannabis farming differs this side of the pond).

And while the Truss-Kamikwazie economic plan causes us all sorts of problems over here (yes that’s a £50 change in mortgage payments overnight for us) in the US mediators have (and this is no exaggeration) saved the economy!

The threatened rail strikes were averted thanks to the assistance of experienced government mediators working between unions and employers preventing an estimated $2bn loss a day to the US economy.

It was Labour Secretary Marty Walsh and Deputy Secretary Julie Su who led the mediation efforts, when you think of the lack of efforts by the UK government in dealing with similar issues it makes you realise how you approach disputes (or indeed if the transport minister can be bothered to pick up the phone) really has an impact.

Whilst the agreement still has to be ratified (and a call from Joe Biden was necessary to push the parties that final step) it’s still proof of how you react to a problem informs your outcome.

An unusual case this one a head injury case against an employer was settled at mediation with the employee agreeing not to take action. Normally that would be a binding agreement as the employee agreed he would pursue the land owner of the warehouse where the injury occurred rather than the employer.

However the flag should have been raised by the mediator when the words “head injury” were used as now several years afterwards electrician John Gray has been found to have had sufficient mental capacity to reach an agreement.

I dare say the mediator probably relied on John’s lawyers to have checked but from the evidence of his wife that following the head injury John was unable to follow written instructions should have sounded a warning bell to his lawyers.

Of course the case wouldn’t have been brought if John had been successful against the warehouse owner but nevertheless it is a salutary warning for anyone working with injured clients in mediation (and indeed clients under any mental difficulty) to consider obtaining medical advice from the parties on the client’s capability. This sort of question often comes up in inheritance mediation but tends to be a question of capability of the deceased when decisions were made historically as opposed to the parties to the mediation.

The three pillars of mediation remain it’s voluntary (except apparently when it won’t be anymore), 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 me at 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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