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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

The green eyed monster 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.

Green is the colour of jealousy, and it’s a green comet shooting through the heavens that had us looking out the window this week, it reminded me of the green jets from the Martians’ rockets in The War of the Worlds but whilst I do see jealousy as a topic in many mediations, I don’t see any actual wars in my practice, plenty of metaphoric ones.

Charles Schneider gives us a personal mediation story this week where two young businesses were in dispute (who knows if the green eyed monster may have been at work) but in this article he talks about the dangers caused by parties (and sometimes the mediator) not understanding the offers on the table.

I normally ask for all offers to be disclosed in a civil mediation, not just so I can see what the relative positions are but what they were, and where if anywhere agreement has already been reached or concessions given.

Rarely I would say do I understand the parties before we get into mediation, that is after all the point of the process, if I can understand where each party is coming from I can help the other party get to a similar understanding and then we can all understand the offers, why they are made and what the limits are.

Often you’ll find the limits are practical or financial, the party won’t have enough money to pay that sum by this date so how can we work round that to a satisfactory outcome? The man of straw argument is often not truly appreciated by clients until they are in mediation (the man of straw being legal shorthand for what we oop north would call being “brassic” or “skint”) and yes sometimes they don’t believe the party who says they have no money, but it will often cost a lot more to find out if they are lying!

By the way in recognition of the Mrs’ big number birthday if you mention you have read this blog in the next 3 weeks I’ll knock £50 of any mediation fee (not MIAM). Also if you are reading this why? Really I’m intrigued who gets past the first few lines and thinks “this is a bit of beautifully scripted blogging?”, it’s not me I re-read some entries spot the typos and generally think that could have been better written by one of the kids!

Moving on (as the great Chris Chang would say) Racheal Osibu of Osibogun and Partners’ words now on why lawyers should absolutely be looking to mediation to settle civil disputes and when they do how they can best act (in her fantastic description) as lubricants to the process, that’s right Counsel, you’ve just been compared to very useful WD40. It’s a great point. I think if we are to suggest lawyers are oil we should perhaps suggest they are essential oil!

She goes on to say that advocacy in mediation recognises that negotiated outcome is 1. more satisfying (I often say more likely to be complied with as well as having a better feel for the clients) 2. In the control of the parties 3. Looks at wider needs and interests (I would add not just the pleaded case) 4. Have regard to the needs of both sides (as to ignore one means prolonging the case).

Added to that the underlying need to look for resolution not conflict so all parties should be looking for deals to be made not points to be scored. Lawyers shouldn’t look with envy at the mediator and say ADR is astonishingly diminished revenue, when employed correctly by lawyers (and I do on occasion find myself representing parties still with another hat on) it’s a chance to achieve what your client wants a solution, your job isn’t to tell them what they want to hear remember?

The union’s 31st of January rally has come and gone but HarperCollins Union’s dispute with the publishing house of the same name is ongoing. Thankfully whether as a response to the continued strike action and the future threatened action or not the publisher has agreed to mediate.

The workers have been on strike since November over wages and diversity, which given HarperCollins’ massive output must be a significant dent in production, it’s the only one of the big four publishing houses to have a unionised staff so it is losing out to rivals by the day. I was going to try and link this to my moment about green eyed monsters but the closest I can get is that HarperCollins published my GCSE Othello book in which of course deals with the theme of jealousy and refers to the green eyed monster “which doth mock the meat it feeds on”.

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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