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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Mediation News - a swipe at the narcissist former PM and other matters

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.

In a week where our former PM (he was never mine) finally is held to account, at least in some small way, I’m reminded that sorry still seems to be the hardest word for some.

Narcissists crop up in all sorts of mediation, not just the typical pale male (like the former PM) in family cases but in civil and commercial they have a tendency to pop up and need to have their egos alternatively challenged and massaged through to find a way forward. In those cases it’s often easier to reach a conclusion if the narcissist thinks the solution was their idea all along, getting them into that position takes some time, effort and skill.

One of the difficulties in mediation is you can often see what might appear to be a simple solution (“split the difference” or “just take a different route” or “stop being so petty”) but you cannot force a solution on the parties. They need to come to a decision naturally, it’s a risk to jump to an assumed end point before talking the issues through, it’s something lawyers often miss when they have already decided what they want their clients to do and will say “let’s just talk about the numbers”, that misses the point of mediation getting clients to accept the “numbers” is far easier once you understand the impact.

In this week’s mediation news Nigeria has brought in a new Arbitration and Mediation act to build on the country’s positive experience of the work of mediators across various sectors.

Part of the act is to allow mediation agreements and arbitration decisions which need to be in writing to be in electronic format, which means that e-signing will now be acceptable and parties don’t have to wait for hard copies to be delivered (always a risk I find in remote mediation where parties insist on hard copy that between settlement and signature a party has second thoughts).

The act also allows third party funders to help with costs and to benefit from any positive settlement, those with a personal injury background might shudder at this idea, but done correctly and not in a manner intended to fleece clients it’s possible to benefit access to justice.

It’s also interesting to note that the Nigerian system already “stays” matters in mediation in terms of limitation (not something which happens in the UK).

In Inch, County Clare, a local peaceful protest group has requested mediation with the government over the opening of an asylum seeker unit in the town.

For the past several weeks asylum seekers have been housed in a local hotel but the government is planning to open an all-male centre for asylum seekers to house those already present and future applicants.

I know it’s easy for me to sit here and suggest this is a bit of NIMBYsm, the same as can be seen in my old stomping ground at RAF Scampton but I feel the approach our government takes to asylum seekers is wrong. We should welcome asylum seekers and process their claims quickly and efficiently, I can’t speak for the Irish government’s approach but the UK’s has been to reduce staff in the processing centres to the point where the crisis is wholly manufactured and I dare say for political reasons not humanitarian. As the weather changes round the world those of us in what have been temperate zones will find mass migration simply for survival a new problem with which governments and citizens need to deal.

And if you weren’t aware of the consultation from HMG regarding compulsory mediation you are now.

As reported in the Gazette the Law Society has firmly said that making mediation compulsory is against the interests of all involved (my own feedback mirrored those thoughts), the Society says of it’s submission:

‘Advice provides a “reality check”, manages unrealistic expectations, assesses a client’s suitability for mediation and provides trusted, legal advice. Early legal advice helps reduce conflict early on and helps clients better understand the parameters of their case. This will create significant benefits for both mediation and court processes… There are also benefits for those who must go to court, helping people understand their case better, and helping clients access services they are entitled to in domestic abuse and child abuse cases.’

My least favourite suggestion (and clearly other mediators felt the same) was the proposal that mediators determine who has made a reasonable effort to mediate, we aren’t judges, we aren’t psychic either, we’re here to help people not judge if they really committed to a session or were distracted, particularly if those decisions have an impact on costs awarded it makes the mediator’s role wholly different from that which it should be.

My line that I repeat every week that mediation is voluntary remains key, if the law changes we’ll adapt but I cannot see making mediation per se compulsory in family matters helpful, now in civil you may find a play a different tune, that’s because the CPR already makes mediation tacitly mandatory, it must be considered indeed all options BEFORE litigation must be considered, reinforcing that consideration is what is needed by the courts in civil claims.

The three pillars of mediation remain it’s voluntary, 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 0161 667 4418 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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