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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Mediation - post Covid future looks bright

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 can be no physical meeting.

We wrote last week about the tsunami of claims and potential housing evictions likely to happen post lockdown as the courts release moratoria and stays on many cases but for mediations run by Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) in three locations the issue of funding the very successful program is becoming urgent.

Harry Webne-Behrman project leader of “Helping Ourselves” says the success of the project is not just in the numbers trying mediation but in the numbers of successful outcomes between tenants and reduction in escalation.

"We're working with [tenants] to help them name the sources of the [dispute] and giving them strategies for being able to address those ... directly and constructively…We're improving their confidence in being able to manage it…So many disputes that arise and escalate and then become violent could be ... intervened upon at an earlier stage"

As with many housing groups the issues arise from noise nuisances, disputes over the use of common areas and management of the properties but with funding running out next week there is a risk no further training and help for the residents will be delivered.

One participant, Christine Robillard, said of the scheme "[it taught] us to listen to each other before we blurt out, and how to communicate. It doesn't matter the language barriers"

Vice-president of tenant and community support at OCH Brian Gilligan said they were looking for urgent funding from new and existing partners to continue the good work that the mediation scheme has produced to date.

Also as we said last week mediation is going to be at the fore of resolving matters as lockdown eases around the world, some governments have already recognised the need for mediators to be ready to assist and forward thinking as ever the Scottish Government’s Wellbeing Fund is already paying for mediation services as we emerge from lockdown.

One such new venture being funded is run by Malcolm Currie and Robin Burley, the service is open to any Scottish resident and any business with up to 5 employees with a new issue arising from lockdown, isolation or social distancing.

I don’t hold much hope that our government south of the border will be making any such steps but we live in hope. Malcolm (founder of Strathesk Resolutions) said “As with any disagreement or dispute, if we aren’t able to have a conversation about it and if it remains unresolved, the frustration that can create can end up being greater than the original reason why there was a disagreement.

“That can often have impacts on mental health and wellbeing so it is good if people are able to speak about what’s happening.”

Robin added “Mediators are able to help create the space for that conversation in a way which allows the parties to use creative ways of resolving disagreements and in some instances to repair relationships, too. In terms of what might be a suitable dispute for mediation, we will be able to speak to you about your dispute and advise on each instance.

“As a general guide, the sorts of disputes include those around family matters, including care of older relatives, flatmates/housemates, landlord/tenant, co-operative or social housing, workplace concerns related to working from home or shared workspaces and those involving neighbours.

“It is possible that some issues may have existed before and were being managed successfully but the additional pressures have pushed them into conflict.”

Director of Scottish Mediation Graham Boyack acknowledged the difficulties facing everyone caused by the restrictions Covid has meant we are all living under “This is a challenging time for everyone and the isolation and stress of living in close quarters can cause, or increase, conflict for families, friends, and roommates, and can create challenges for work teams, charities and businesses.”

And in further good news for those in the industry predictions estimate a boom in the need for mediators.

The “Arbitration and Mediation Services Market” 2020 report includes the market strategy, market orientation, expert opinion and knowledgeable information. The Arbitration and Mediation Services Industry Report is an in-depth study analyzing the current state of the Arbitration and Mediation Services Market”

And what it concludes in short is that looking over the next six years the future looks rosy for the mediation industry.

And as if to bang the point home a bit more the Ohio Supreme Court has issued new guidance to encourage the use of mediation in foreclosure cases.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor said “Working together and working wisely has served Ohio courts well this year as our response to the coronavirus pandemic. Our foreclosure guide continues that trend”

“The virus has made home foreclosure a real threat to Ohio families as unemployment soars…Mediation coupled with remote distancing technology will go a long way toward helping judges and magistrates find solutions for all sides.”

Clearly court is now your least appealing option for civil claims and family disputes, the backlogs are now headline grabbing so don’t hesitate to contact Northwest Mediation with your details using the chat button, filling in the contact form, phoning us or email, we can get back to you quickly and get the ball rolling often for free.

As we’ve said before choose to mediate early and resolve your issues effectively, quickly but with sufficient and sensible pauses for reflection, and with less stress and costs than going to your solicitor. You have an interest in the outcome the sooner you get around 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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