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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

The undiscovered country - don't be nervous

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 exam time and although it’s more than 30 years since I sat my A levels I can still remember the nervousness of going to Market Rasen Race Course where are exams were all held, my eldest begins his this week and whilst he is far brighter than I ever will be I can’t help feeling nervous as it’s the first time he will have sat “proper” exams thanks to the incompetent way our government dealt with the first wave of Covid.

It reminds me that clients coming to mediation are generally first timers, and have that same nervousness what’s going to happen, what will I be asked, what will is say? All the usual things that go through your head in any new situation.

The good news is that whilst I’ve been doing mediaitons for 6 years or more as my main job I don’t forget the client is still new at this so I will talk you through the process, before we meet if you want, and answer as many questions as I can throughout the process. Whilst in session I do more of the asking there are still questions which come up and I will always try to put you at your ease, this is your mediation, me as Northwest Mediation is there to help and assist you find a resolution.

And new to mediation in the US is the guidance on how mediators get paid in bankruptcy proceedings. The court in these instances normally appoint three mediators, sounds a little overkill. One is a judge (who provides their services for free – or rather as part of their judicial pay packet which I imagine is a bit like an MPs salary only better) the other two have previously had to work out who was paying or potentially apply for a court order, now the guidance has been clarified they get paid by the parties 50/50 like in all good mediaitons and on presentation of the invoice no order required.

Northwest Mediation like most mediators requires payment up front. Unlike lawyers who bill after the event (massively more than mediators) you get a fixed rate, but because you need to be engaged in the process you need to have “skin in the game” (cf Hamilton). We could do no agreement no fee, but mediation isn’t always about an agreement (let me be clear it normally is) but sometimes it’s about adjusting how parties relate or their attitude to each other and that doesn’t necessarily fit into an agreement (though in 99.9% of cases you will get some form of record of what will be different).

I used to do no win no fee work and one of my enduring memories was that clients did not engage in the process, they left it to the lawyer, they weren’t paying so why have any interest. In mediation I find clients are invested and interested and ask loads of great questions and really want to find a solution, otherwise they would not be present in the room.

Mediation is not really new in Italy (apologies for the picture I don't have any e-files from our honeymoon on Lake Garda) where compulsory mediation was started in 2011, stopped in 2013 and moved back to encouraged by an initial meeting (similar to a compulsory MIAM for family mediation) and look at the figures in this report. Increases in percentage of settlements every year through mediation despite increased numbers of mediations taking place.

The more parties accept mediation as normal the more likely they are to engage and reach agreement, 6 years ago I thought by now mediation would be so main stream I’d never have to explain what my job was again, sadly not yet the case but I have no doubt expansion for mediation is definitely coming. With statistics like these from our neighbours lawyers cannot ignore the need for more mediation to help clients reach quicker settlements, with less stress and at a lower cost.

And why would I be so positive about the future of mediation, because esteemed Master of the Rolls Sir Geoffrey Vos is, and here he is again at the International Mediation conference in Belfast, which I confess if I’d spotted was only a quick plane ride away I’d have attended.

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 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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