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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

More mediation in the pipeline?

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 been a busy old time at NWM towers helping everyone from neighbours to empoyers to contractors to developers and back to families in difficulties so apologies if you’ve missed your regular update on all things mediation.

Back to banging the drum for tenant/landlord mediation this time in Rockford (Files) Illinois, where the 17th Judicial Circuit Court has brought in a mediation programme for all tenants and landlords.

“The Illinois Supreme Court has encouraged each judicial circuit to establish early resolution programs to allow for alternative dispute resolution of eviction cases. The court is pleased to be in a position to offer a platform that allows Winnebago County residents involved in eviction court an opportunity to reach an agreement that meets their respective needs.” Said Chief Judge Eugene G. Doherty

The court circuit have partnered with not for profit organisation Resolution Systems Institute to help co-ordinate the efforts.

You all know the Straits of Mackinac of course is the waterway between Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas?

Since the 50s Line 5 (a propane pipeline) owned by Enbridge has run under the waters here carrying essential (?) fossil fuel from one side of the water to the other.

Michigan state and Enbridge have been in mediation over the route taken and the cost implication and now expect to have matters resolved by August.

Spokesman for Enbridge Ryan Duffy confirmed the company wants to "work cooperatively to reconcile interests, resolve disputes and move forward…We understand the stakes in this matter are important not only for Enbridge and the state, but for many others throughout the region that have strong interest in its outcome…Meanwhile, we will continue to safely and responsibly deliver the energy the region relies upon from the Line 5 system. "

In November Governor Gretchen Whitmer revoked Enbridge’s easement citing multiple breaches of permissions and ordering all use to cease by May (Needless to say that’s not happened).

The move comes ahead of Enbridge’s attempts to put in a new $500million tunnel under the straits to house a new pipeline, an application in which two authorities (the Michigan Public Service Commission the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) have ordered environmental impact assessments before granting the permits which Enbridge will need to complete the pipeline.

It’s a mediation I’d find hard to deal with given the nature of the contents of the tunnel however at the moment until realistic alternatives are available it may be that the tunnel is a necessity, frankly I’d sooner see a wind farm. But then Enbridge are committed to company wide net zero by 2050?!?

And having written that it appears that mediation efforts have now broken down with Michigan saying there is no more benefit, ah well you win some you walk away from others.

I’m a sucker for lists following last posts 8 ways to leave your lover, or did I misremember?

This week 8 tips in high profile construction mediation cases

1. Build trust – applies in all mediations, if they don’t believe you’re interested they won’t engage

2. See the bigger picture – again all mediaitons in construction obviously there can be significant big impacts outside those in the room (but thus is always the case) in these types of cases as in all make sure the decision makers are in the room not off somewhere waiting to hear how it went (see 1)

3. Set expectations – or rather manage them, if it’s not going to be a one time sit down deal let them know, if you don’t know tell them that too! Nothing worse than a full day mediation which ends with you saying see you tomorrow – to blank faces!

4. Keep things confidential – really this is number 1 between caucuses (room shuttling if you want plain English) remember you can’t say what they said to you without them saying you can say it (or YCSWTSTYWTSYCSI)

5. Leverage focus sessions – yeah ok this is construction you need experts to chat and sometimes they need to discuss with the protagonists separately from you (though I’d try and be present as much as possible) but if they need to explain technical detail let them

6. Take the blame for proposals- a trick we use a lot, “I’m not the expert/party but what if one of them were to say this?” or “I may be misunderstanding but could you do this?” is a way of making a proposal the other side has made without blaming the other party or allowing them to be blamed and negatively impacting on the flow of the session (Take it on the chin dear mediator you’re out of here at the end of this if it helps let them hit you…metaphorically)

7. Neutral assessment – this is a bit Med-arb for my liking, make your choice I would say but if there are specific issues that can be dealt with by a neutral judge of some sort without a formal hearing give it a whirl

8. Use neutral assessment boards – this sort of runs in from 7 if there are in existence neutral bods who can determine matters and who the parties are happy will keep things confidential, bring them in or have them on speed dial

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

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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