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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

New year new challenges old feelings, mediation

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 are limits on physical meetings.

And so 2020 disappears into history, in twenty years there will be a slew of programmes revisiting the year everything changed but that nothing changed.

How we work has changed, who we work with and what we do may have altered, certainly our interactions will forever be more distanced, hand shaking will be a thing of the past and Zoom, or its offspring, will be the preferred choice for most meetings hearings and mediations.

In person mediation has a place as does in person meetings but, despite what Brexiteers think, the world has got smaller and soon we will be living off planet at that point how do you have a one to one in person meeting? The reality is that 2020 showed us what is to come, remote learning, remote hearings but what was not remote was our feelings, our anger, frustration whether at the lack of imagination in those who govern, or too much imagination in those who vote and the depth of the pain that we feel being separated by the screen.

Feelings, something that traditionally the British have avoided talking about, are at the heart of most mediations. I don’t simply mean family mediation where there has been a divorce and the pain can be raw, but in civil mediation too feelings, expectations and disappointment all lie at the back of how a case can be resolved. You aren’t simply let don by your builder you are hurt that you feel misled, understanding that leads to a more likely resolution than simply issuing proceedings which causes its own pain, anguish and cost.

There’s an excellent review of the mediation year from Graham Boyack this week, he like me acknowledges that the pandemic has made mediators assess the use of online mediation and indeed for lots, like me, to advocate its use as a first stop.

The FMC still prefers in person mediation allowing online mediation only due to the pandemic or other extenuating circumstances but having done a year or more of online mediation I cannot see how the genie can be put back in the bottle.

Graham also notes the usefulness of conferences being online, with contributors from around the globe being available to everyone, and with an eye on the green pledge not having people fly or drive to conferences will have significantly reduced the impact on the environment.

In the Scottish year of mediation there have been leaps forward with the opening of tenant farmer mediaitons and the St Andrew’s University mediation scheme for staff and students.

Necessity is the mother of invention and 2020 was the mother alright!

There’s a reflective tone to the podcast from David Ross and Adrienne Publicover who both acknowledge the necessity of Zoom style mediations but that at some point in person mediation will happen again but that the technology is here to stay.

It’s interesting that they agree very few people had done zoom mediations prior to last year, maybe it’s because of the time I spent working on projects with Greater Manchester Academic Health and Science Network where conference video calls were normal that Northwest Mediation had already adopted the technology so only needed to finesse my use of it.

There are still issues with connections sometimes (you may find your neighbour’s microwave interferes with your signal or that while your wife is on a virtual court hearing and the children are variously Amongus and Call of Dutying online things slow up) but there are some issues with in person mediaitons as well, everything I manageable with a will and a bit of patience.

Finally this week there’s some good news in the international mediation with Qatar and Saudi Arabia opening borders after a year long block.

Work by the Kuwaiti Emir with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Thani has resulted in an announcement by the Kuwaiti foreign ministry that borders were re-opening. Saudi Arabia had been among a number of countries who broke off relations in 2017 accusing Qatar of supporting terrorism and destabilising the region (Qatar of course denied any such allegations)

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. 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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