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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Mediation Guidance

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.

It’s all guidance this week on being involved in mediation, how to be better at the job or prepare for a mediation.

Rule of seven applies to this article on the best way to prepare for mediation, Andy Rodgers misses the zeroth point being contact Northwest Mediation, but we’ll forgive him that as his other points are zingers. And yes I do always have a pack of cards close to hand.

1. convince the other side to mediate (bringing the mediator into the conversation early to discus flexibility like we offer at Northwest Mediation is key);

2. Be tactical with logistics, don’t put the other side in the smallest coldest room in your offices, it’s a mark that you are playing games not seriously considering the mediation as an option;

3. choose a good mediator (surely I don’t need to comment about Northwest Mediation’s track record here, but if you insist upwards of 85% of cases settle in mediation and over 90% settle in the time shortly after, even those that don’t have removed significant barriers to potential settlements by narrowing the issues to what is really at stake);

4. agree the rules of mediation (see term agreements below), but deal with disclosure, evidence, bundles all need agreeing prior to getting into the room where it happens;

5. educate the mediator, please don’t keep your cards too close to your chest we’re here to help not be shocked and stunned by your cunning hidden card trick;

6. build your team, ok if there is a genuine need to have several bodies involved in a complex mediation that’s fine but otherwise keep it simple, (mediations with multiple directors, their accountants and their plant manager can be useful if all are needed but balance the cost and their lost time against their usefulness);

7. have a strategy, knowing what you’re prepared to give on is key but if you’re acting for a client you won’t necessarily know what they are genuinely prepared to move on until they get into the meeting (see last week’s comments about apologies being more important than cash).

Balance that article with this one which looks at why it’s necessary to spot your own bias and imbalance; what to do about them and ensure that in a mediation everyone is part of the conversation.

It’s one of the reasons I prefer non lawyer led mediation (not no lawyer involved just that mediation is the clients’ choice, and they should feel more in control of the resolution when guided by the mediator).

The actions of the mediator which this article describes in turning away from the lawyer is fine but only if it was to concentrate on the party speaking, which in this case it wasn’t it was to “take football” with the male counterpart of the writer. Alienating the party or their lawyer, mum, colleague, friend, is no way to get a good rapport with a client in mediation and certainly not the foundation for meaningful resolution.

More guidance in this interesting piece from another jurisdiction on class action and how they differ to individual mediations. The primary difference being that the cases need to be certified as a class or group action so that any result of mediation can be meaningful and bind everyone involved.

Over here they may be many cases arising from similar facts and you can get group or class actions or claimant’s might choose a lead case and agree that it be tested in court. However if you get into mediation you want everyone with an interest to be involved (maybe all the council leaders in a discussion over how much money a city region needs for tier 3 for instance) but maybe not everyone with an interest as that soon becomes unwieldy, who is in the room where it happens isn’t just an historical debate of how Hamilton got the deal he did with Jefferson but crucial to working out a result that is agreeable to everyone in and outside the room.

In this article Donald Frederico of Pierce Atwood LLP sets out the other differences how to determine those bodies in the room, the terms of the mediation may be significantly wider or very narrow than an individual mediation. Donald talks about the “term sheet” ie the terms you will mediate under, I would suggest this is in addition to the normal agreement to mediate which is primarily to explain the nature of mediation itself, in a group litigation having terms that set out the agenda will help but in my view would need to be agreed before starting the process.

My favourite of the points is the importance of patience, I am by my nature keen to get everything done and dusted, but I’ve learnt over the years that people work at different paces and in a group litigation you need to ensure each person involved is ok to proceed to the next step before you do. As my teachers used to say there’s never only one person wanting more time or not understanding.

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. 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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