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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Patience - precious in mediation

With the continued backlog of cases 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 should we add we also do live in person mediation too! So please do not feel that you cannot contact us if you would like to mediate but wish to do so remotely.

It’s always difficult waiting for anything, waiting for GCSEs to start, for a portfolio to be assessed or for prom shoes to arrive for instance are just a selection of things over which the pensive person has no control but with which they have to deal.

As we become increasingly fixated with instant responses patience is becoming a virtue that's increasingly hard to come by. Emails, texts and WhatsApp messages fill up almost as soon as you walk away from your phone demanding urgent responses, and don’t get me started about Tweets. We want everything done quickly, efficiently and on our terms. However, patience remains an essential element in life and (you won’t be shocked to hear me say) in mediation, and it's critical to understand its role in conflict resolution.

As part of the mediator's role in facilitating the discussion between the parties, identifying areas of agreement and helping them find common ground patience is required at each stage. Outside of work I have been occasionally accused of rushing headlong into matters without giving due time to consider or jumping to the conclusion without going through the necessary steps to bring everyone along with me, so I’ve had to concentrate especially hard on making sure this doesn’t apply in mediation, it’s the same with some clients.

One client will know the end point they want to get to and jump to it “let’s talk numbers now” before we’ve explored the issues. It can be hard for clients to understand why we go through the process so knowing my own weakness for jumping to the end it’s helpful to explain why patience is needed and what is achieved by going through the exploratory phase and gaining understanding of all areas of disagreement to enable the parties to achieve a successful outcome.

The first step in cultivating patience in mediation is to understand that the process takes time. I try to remind parties that they will need to be prepared to invest their time, effort, and energy into the mediation process, they are paying for the service so it is in their interest to get the bets out of it and that means taking time.

Patience is crucial in mediation in helping the parties hear each other, not just what they thought was the issue but what the other party actually says (and sometimes what isn’t said). Often 'legalese' has crept in and the parties think they know what the case is about but hearing from each other they learn that what they thought was crucial is not.

It's always important for the parties to be patient and allow the other party to express their views without interruption, not always easy when subjects are emotive.

Finally patience is also necessary when negotiating in mediation. Parties must be willing to compromise and find creative solutions that meet everyone's needs, I used to keep tally of the most “last and final offers” parties made but after one party totted up over 13 I stopped counting. Negotiations can be challenging, and parties must be patient and willing to explore different options.

Parties need help to understand that mediation is not always a quick fix, and it takes time to achieve a successful outcome. Active listening, confidentiality, and the willingness to negotiate are all essential elements in cultivating patience in mediation.

The benefits of patience in mediation was shown this week in the Dominion law suit against Fox in which mediators Jerry Roscoe worked tirelessly to reach and agreement between the parties to avoid the expense and probable embarrassment (despite what either side may claim) of final hearings.

Proving that it is never too late to mediate, again patience pays out. Mediation can take place at any stage of proceedings, I’ve been involved in cases before during and after hearings, in one case after an appeal had been determined the parties were still willing to talk and I had to be very patient in finding out what there was still to save (hint - further appeal costs and company dissolution risking no payments).

Fox ended up paying about half of the $1.6 bn claimed ($787.5 million, or nearly £630 million), as the article says no one got complete vindication but they got to walk away with what they needed settlement and trial avoidance.

In the fast paced world of crypto currency patience is also needed and not just to make any money! Crypto lending “bank” Genesis has agreed to mediation with its creditors to find a restructuring plan rather than bankruptcy.

The speed of the settlement is not making parties happy so patience will come into play again. Key creditor Gemini expressed their frustration in tweets about the process noting that 4/5/23 sees the next court hearing, in my experience courts are well used to agreeing to delay matters to give mediation time to be agreed and for discussions to be concluded. We try to resolve matters in one day wherever possible but it can’t always be done and if need be the court would still rather parties reach agreement.

As deals go the proposal that should see creditors recover 80% of their losses is a pretty good look for what (IMHO) is a gamble on novel investments. Hopefully with a bit of effort and some patience the parties will be able to find an agreement on the structure of any bankruptcy process.

Oh I know it’s behind a pay wall but the title is so enticing not just chocolate, but sexy chocolates are off to mediation! Two companies in Texas have been ordered to mediation over the trademark dispute involving “Sexy Chocolates” the time for the mediation to be conducted has now been extended as the parties are yet to reach agreement but clearly they are on track to find some resolution.

And sadly as it is behind a pay wall I can’t tell you more. I could of course say you shouldn’t be too patient when chocolate is involved as it might melt but these are Sexy Chocolates so take your time!

Whatever your dispute patience is absolutely vital to finding a solution, it forms part of the basis of our work and when you contact us you can expect patience from us in understanding your problem.

So whether it’s a dispute over chocolate, banking issues, defamation or any other civil dispute get in touch, we do family mediation too and for all aspects we are far cheaper than taking matters to court.

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. Finally this one is mediation, mediator jointly appointed, areas of discussion agreed and intention to be bound by the outcome.

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 me at Northwest Mediation on 0161 667 4418 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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