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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Mediation vital in all contracts

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.

We start this week with an article by Peter Rosen reminding us why it’s important to have mediation clauses in insurance contracts particularly when dealing with warranties and representations. He notes that it can be difficult for parties (and mediators) to properly consider the relative strength of the parties positions without disclosure, so having a mediation too early may lead (as it did in the case Peter describes) to an agreement that the parties do not know if they can agree and so the parties continue to talk and reach settlement after mediation but before trial (as most cases still do – if you read last week’s blog you’ll have an idea of the number we are talking about).

I said before it’s never too early to mediate, except when it is, and Peter’s case is a classic for too early an attempt (though bound by contract to do so) there should be a requirement for early consideration but when a case is based on discoverable documents as opposed to opinion some thought should be given to how much of that documentation is needed before mediation can begin in any meaningful way.

Northwest Mediation likes parties to put their cards on the table but it has to be both sides who do this and it has to be understood that documents disclosed are confidential outside the mediation, though they may later be disclosed as part of the court process. Part of the mediation process is always to reveal what lies beneath but if neither side knows what does it can be tricky to work out a resolution with which all can live.

Michael Cork discusses in depth the role of the mediator in the traditionally recognised role in divorce in his third article of four for the Family Law Group. His background as a CAFCASS officer puts him in a good position to talk about the impact on kids and understanding people’s basic wishes and desires.

One of the many benefits of mediation is it moves rather more quickly than a CAFCASS report (the old joke being as seen on a window in the old Oldham County “window broken – in need of repair – do not use” which had added in script underneath “awaiting CAFCASSS report”).

Michael discusses the role of interests, needs and principles and how with a mediator all parties can explore these recognise the impact of each and how a resolution can be found.

I look forward to the final instalment.

The Family Law Journal’s piece this week is a reminder of how far we’ve come as mediators in the pandemic, with zoom being the medium of choice.

Jane Robey’s comments echo ones I’ve made previously about loss of body language but the significant benefit of time and place and removal of geographical barriers, the other benefit she identifies is for CPD but as a mostly lone mediator and self-employed body I tend to miss that as CPD events are one of the few times I get to interact with real people.

In Belize the mediation process has had a noticeable impact. Following mediation discussions between Chester Williams, the commissioner of Police and Abdul Nunez the director of Behaviour Modification and Conflict Mediation Centre and over 80 gang members there has been a down turn in gun crime.

In his comments whilst expressing his pleasure with the progress made the Commissioner added a warning “the mediation session went well and since then we have seen a significant decrease in gun violence in Belize City…We’re going to continue monitoring the situation and see how it goes and I have said to them in the mediation session that this is the last talk. If it continues we’re not going to sit down and talk no more, something else will be done…it’s a multi faceted approach that we must have but to get the true success that we want we need to pluck out the hardcore from among the others so that we can move forward from there.”

Well it’s a start

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 the tunnel and see the light. 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 should be your first call, mediate don't litigate.

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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