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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Sanctions in 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 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.

Threatening sanctions, ever seen as a way to influence foreign (or local) political powers is much the way some people approach mediation, mediate or else! Whilst there is something to be said about the stick of sanctions for failing to mediate I prefer it not to come across as a threat from one party to the other and focus on the benefit mediation can bring to both sides.

However if a party does not believe the threat (whether it be sanctions or court action) then the other party, let’s call him Vlad, is not going to change what he’s doing. This is especially the case when the threat is either non existent or has potential to backfire on the threatening party, let’s call him Alexander.

Baseball! The MLB (that's Major League Baseball, like the premiership but for stick swingers) and the players union are still in dispute over changes to pay and conditions, delaying this year’s season and the training which should be getting underway about now. One element not being addressed is the “luxury tax” which is a 12% surcharge on the highest earning clubs/players.

There’s a big gap in expectations although as reported here the push for mediation comes after both sides have made apparent moves towards each other in respect of the figures being offered as acceptable for player wage and bonuses.

The threatened sanctions here are of course the impact on the players’ ability to play, their income, the fans’ enjoyment, the teams; (and their sponsors’) income.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got for mediation was “be curious”, don’t look for the result you want (it’s not about you) or expect from years of litigation experience. Curiosity may have killed the cat, so tread with care, but satisfaction brought him back.

In this interview inside the mediator’s room Don Saposnek talks about this curiosity using your strategies and being ready for anything like an akido warrior, bring the person in. This is Don’s answer to the often posed question what to do with a client you don’t like (there aren’t many) but as he says talk to them find the common ground it’ll help you find their goal.

Being self-aware of your own foibles (hello pen twiddlers) helps you conquer them control them and understand why the client might be doing it as well (nerves? Avoiding something? Needing time to consider the point made). The mediator themselves not rising to the threat of sanctions I guess is what the take would be form this article.

Meanwhile the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) are going to mediation with some it’s creditors. The oversight board dealing with the bankruptcy of PREPA reached an agreement with some bondholders some years ago but the deal is yet to be finalised and delays have been sought and given while final details are negotiated.

The group want Barbara Houser (retired judge) to act as mediator, the island’s government has been reluctant to pass the agreement into law as one potential is the increase in utility bills, we know how they feel.

One of the items on the group’s agenda is for the imposing of deadlines for the deal to be ratified, it’s been delayed initially by the PR legislature, then the pandemic and now the oversight board’s request to wait for the new company to step in to take control of the defunct business.

The group have been waiting since 2018 for a resolution and for them the time has come for assistance from a skilled mediator. The sanctions here would be the withdrawal of the long standing support for the deal by the bond holders with the legislature potentially being obliged to make laws in haste.

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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