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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Mediation - the year ahead

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 continues to use 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 the last blog before New Year so perhaps a suitable time for reflection (something we do a lot in mediation). The year began with the UK Government dithering and delaying and causing death and it looks like we’re ending the year the same way. It’s hard in the circumstances to keep a stiff upper lip and look to hope, I see my kids growing into adults in a world so much poorer than it was when I was their age, I see leaders elected on the basis of outright lies driven by greed instead of the common good.

But I also see good news stories of people with little or nothing helping those with less, courts overturning outrageous prosecutions of refugees and (fittingly as the days get longer) I see a new age of dragon slayers which we need as the dragons appear to be in charge at the moment (though to call them dragons is to play to their already overinflated egos, let's be honest they are con-men and women, hucksters, grifters rich from not dedication but lies). In time this age of power crazed con artists will pass (Biden already replaced the US' Commander of Cheese) shall pass and perhaps this is the darkest hour after which will come the light, I like to think so. I wouldn’t do this job if I didn’t believe in the innate goodness of the human condition (call it a soul if you will) so best foot forward more cases next year and then in the year after maybe a new government. Happy New year, unless you vote Tory.

One thing the future may hold is more simulacrum mediations, now don’t all shout at once, it’s not so long ago we talked about the “need” to meet in person, we quickly got over that and whilst there is always a preference to see and read body language in a mediation we have done phone mediaitons before zoom was anything other than a motor car noise.

The fabulously named Courtney Chicvack mediated from Horizon carried out a simulated mediation on the Meta platform (you’ll have seen Nick Clegg on Meta previously) it’s a great little video to watch if you have no idea about mediation, just ignore the wands they’re holding and it gets easier.

You may query how mediation is kept private if you cannot even see the parties’ rooms, but in reality you take people on trust if you aren’t physically with them they could have someone out of shot (we always check but people lie) so I have no issue with this method, what I do miss is the facial reactions but in time Meta will get better at those so don’t be surprised if your avatar is in the mediation not your own face (it would certainly save me shaving for mediations).

And if you are looking forward maybe consider increasing your skills to PhD level in mediation (oh for the spare cash and time!) Prio (Peace Research Institute Oslo) is calling out for applications for next year’s PhD in International Mediation, Theory, Case and Skills with a focus on the middle east disputes (though not exclusively so).

As a mediator I have to do regular training to keep abreast of developments and to show commitment to the cause, at some stage a PhD would be of interest but at the moment I am a little too busy for further detailed research to be on the cards.

Finally thought for the future the genii is out the bottle on digital mediation, or as this piece puts it “The Pendulum Has Swung”. Donald Cripe’s piece is an excellent review of what objections are (including my aforementioned body language comment) and an explanation of why the benefits far outweigh any drawback. Just in terms of travel time for parties and practitioners online mediation has been far more of a help than a hindrance, yes occasionally signals have been lost but that’s rare and rarer as we go forward and glass fibre connections are rolled out to more areas of the country.

It’s here to stay, and no matter the FMC’s apparent initial reluctance clients prefer it (as do most forward thinking practitioners).

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.

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 Northwest Mediation on 07931318347 or via email at

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