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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Mediation continues despite lock-down

I nearly said "despite lock-in" not lock-down which probably says more about me than the situation. Like many people I'll be glad when the pubs are back open but more so when the schools re-open as I fast approach another week of homeschooling for my youngest and encouraging my eldest that just because GCSEs have been cancelled doesn't mean he gets to live in bed all day.

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.

If you want a quick view of how zoom works this is a neat little piece available online for clients and mediators alike.

In these difficult times mediation continues to expand with London based International Arbitration Arbitrators & Mediators opening it’s first international centre in Washington. Well respected mediator Wolf von Kumberg has been recruited to head up the centre.

Managing director of Int Arb Sam Carter said von Kumberg’s arrival “strengthens our complete offering” with Wolf’s background as a dual qualified lawyer (Canada/England & Wales) and in conducting high level mediation and arbitration with International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), ICC International Court of Arbitration (ICC), London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), American Arbitration Association (AAA) and Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC) to name a few.

Next part 2 of Pierce Atwood’s article on some of the difficulties in dealing remotely in mediation.

I had the benefit of discussing such problems with a fellow mediator this week and we agreed that the more you take away from physical presence in a mediation the longer it takes to get to grips with all the parties involved.

It’s difficult to see someone clench a fist when the fist is “off camera” even harder to spot them underlining the word “no” three times if the notes aren’t visible. There's an episode of Babylon 5 where during a video conference a senior officer is handing out a dressing down and the lower ranked officer just walks off screen to the cries of "come back here so I can see you when I shout at you".

But whilst video conferencing is new to most non-commercial clients with a little time and effort those difficulties can be overcome.

Whilst we wait for harder sanctions in the UK courts for failing to mediate elsewhere the failure to engage in the process is being used as a method to strike out claims at the outset.

If you can get access to this piece it’s worth a read.

We’re all spending more time at home (and those of us used to working form home will notice the additional numbers of neighbours who are now in all day, every day).

So when it comes to neighbour disputes it’s good to see that mediation continues to be the best way forward.

This report shows that greater understanding produced by mediation leads to better relationships, by recognising the difficulties we all face in these times (before, during and after the lockdown) neighbours can learn to get along. As the song says, every body needs good neighbours.

In a shameful effort to get my old quiz team’s name into the blog (the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band Appreciate Society) here’s the result of failure to mediate, although not the parties’ fault as noted by the Registrar’s representative in his post CMC letter.

“I highlighted the usefulness of mediation as providing a mechanism to resolve disputes in a cost effective and timely manner. However, after hearing the observations made by the respective representatives, I am not convinced that mediation will be useful here. Therefore, whilst I remind the parties of its availability, I will not direct that mediation takes place.” Although later adding “I remain of the view that the proceedings could sensibly have been mediated by the parties to some form of resolution”.

The case revolves around what is basically an abuse of trademark akin to cyber squatting on a useful website before selling it back to the interested party. Here the promoter had his trademark rejected and then sued in the Queen’s Bench Division using hundreds of pages of witness statements which the court held failed to deal with the strike out application. Handing down the judgment by Skype Briggs J said ‘The overall impression one gets… is that Mr Carruthers is on a mission to defeat the band and raises every point he can think of, regardless of relevance, to achieve his aim.’

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.

Sometimes the best answer is to cut the Gordian Knot, but until you try unraveling it you won't know.

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 me 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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