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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Quantumania in mediation and other topics

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.

So with the eldest off at University studying astrophysics this article was bound to catch my eye in which Phyllis Pollack’s examination of how like to quantum physics is a mediation. The (very basic level of understanding from too many years of Trek) is that once you get into the quantum realm things aren’t simply smaller (Ant Man Quantumania notwithstanding) but basically unpredictable. You can only know what the outcome is by taking part/conducting the experiment.

Sometimes the parties go one way sometimes another, the uncertainties are there, the outcome unknown and at the start the parties are in a state of (sometimes organised) chaos. The biggest difference is that whereas with physics you are an observer in mediation the mediator takes an active role so untangles (quantum entanglement in a blog, who’d have thought) the problem and yes I suppose boils it down to the individual elements and helps the parties steer their way through the problem as opposed to simply recording the ouctomes.

Quantum theory has one other similarity to some mediations, it leaves me with a headache.

Amelia Nice, Doughty Street Chambers, argues this week that the use of the word ”mandatory” could be one of the factors that needs addressing in the expanded use of mediation.

As she says Sir Geoffrey Vos, MR has been unequivocal that mediation is no longer a side line or theoretical nicety that those who know about it use it’s got to be part of the central role in civil mediation solutions.

Amelia’s discussion that we don’t talk about elements such as witness statements or costs estimates being “mandatory” reflects what has been bubbling away at the back of my mind. Terminology can be unhelpful, we see it in mediation all the time, if you are put off because something is being thrust upon you then describing it as a choice between mandatory and voluntary is bound to be off putting. Better to say it is a step prior to issue, in my view, that should be undertaken by all parties, in some pre action protocols (property and building disputes for example) it already had to have been done.

Automatic referral to mediation would indeed be the same as mandatory but the tone is softer and we as mediators know that once parties are in the room there is a high level of chance of settlement.

Settlement would and does remain a choice even if taking part in the process becomes obligatory, the one hour obligatory phone call in civil small claims seems to me almost pointless, in the FMC a MIAM has to take 45 minutes to give sufficient information about mediation, who is giving similar information in Civil terms? I wear both hats, FMC and CMC, and civil cases take just as much empathy and understanding as any family case so I charge for small claim cases, not a lot. Also I won’t normally do them on the phone, no body language, no facial tells, makes the process harder but not impossible, the grist to the mill for the mediator.

Finally it was family mediation week last week, I’ve many seminars to catch up on the whole week falling as it did in my busiest week of the year (for those of you not in the business you should also know January is when most of the FMC related bills for membership and supervision fall due so it astounds me how many people can afford to take time off to attend the meetings in person – no one got into mediation to become rich, but equally time is money and time away from clients has to come at a premium).

Of course attending seminars is helpful and allows insight into other mediation practice, what’s coming, who’s working on what, and there’s always tips to be picked up whether it’s dealing with pensions in ancillary relief, or strategies for the difficult apparently intractable party.

I’ve managed to catch up on a few of the sessions over the weekend and I have to say had it been later in the year and in person I’d have been keen to attend as many sessions as possible.

The three pillars of mediation remain it’s voluntary (except apparently when it won’t be anymore), 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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