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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Time for a rethink, mediation opportunities

With the continued backlog of cases mediation is now more than ever the best choice to find a resolution for your dispute.  Get your dispute resolved now so 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.


As you can imagine Christmas is coming and the goose is, if not getting fat, certainly no longer losing weight in these times of financial difficulty for many and it also means a busy time for mediators.


It is a truism that Christmas and the new year brings about an influx of clients who either make a resolution to deal with something that’s been hanging over them for a while or (in some cases) remember they have children and renew the effort to engage with them.  It can be difficult for the parent who has been left with the children for mum or dad to pop up after several years and want to reconnect and unpacking the emotions from both sides takes some doing with clients whether they are the returning parent or the one who has had the care of the kids since dad or mum disappeared.


In other cases we see clients trying to manage Christmas as a newly split family, and I was reminded this week how difficult this can be one party is always further down the road in a separation than another but both will feel a mix of anger, regret and guilt and the other party often underestimates the impact of those feelings if they feel they are the one “hard done to”.

Civil mediation also has a bit of a bump in the new year (not least following the decision in Churchill which we hope means more cases being encouraged by the courts into mediation) people after all run businesses and they too will have new year’s resolutions to resolve conflicts or conclude businesses. 


It’s been 10 years since I changed my life completely which coincided with a new year and a new start it’s not been easy but I’m much happier than I was then albeit there were a number of tough years following the decision, being able to walk away from a toxic situation was one of the most important decision of my life so I speak with some experience.


OK so enough with the "are we there yet?", it’s not Christmas or new year just yet so still plenty of time to resolve matters this year, and plenty of mediation news to go around.



I love a mediation story where I know none of the characters involved, it’s very much like a new mediation you don’t really know anything about your clients at the start.  In this news piece Kim Zolciak and her estranged husband Kroy Biermann have apparently been ordered to mediation to resolve their many issues.


Presumably their many issues are finance and children arrangements in the main.  For those of you, like me, who have never heard of Kim and Kroy and perhaps thought it was a new clothing outlet, Kim if famous for being famous, having been one of the “Real Housewives of Atlanta”, any pseudo reality show with “real” in the title is already a reach, in fact had a Christmas wish it would be to banish all reality shows from airing ever. 


The seemingly superhero named Kroy is an American football player with the Atlanta falcons.

I’m not suggesting that no one has any interest in this couple clearly many news outlets have managed to make one line “couple go to mediation” into pages of news, hopefully the mediator involved will keep the parties focused on the confidentiality of the process and not find all the discussions spread over the TV screens, but I somehow feel that even the break up of a family is good copy for those who have lived in the spotlight, and perhaps they will feel that taking control of the narrative (which impacts on no one but them) is what they need to do.




I mentioned Churchill in the introduction here’s the citation and link to the case.  It’s worthy of reading.


The key element for me is the MR’s conclusion that “The court can lawfully stay proceedings for, or order, the parties to engage in a non-court-based dispute resolution process provided that the order made does not impair the very essence of the claimant’s right to proceed to a judicial hearing, and is proportionate to achieving the legitimate aim of settling the dispute fairly, quickly and at reasonable cost”.


I look forward to the court’s engaging in this thinking going forward with a view to reducing case loads and increasing my work load (I won’t complain) by ensuring that wherever possible mediation is properly considered and ordered.


I’ll go further and say the decision of Geoffrey Vos not to limit the circumstances or factors to be considered is a brilliant step, having just watched “Brawn the impossible F1 story” (from the years when I followed F1 as a religion) I’m reminded that all lawyers, like Ross Brawn, read the rules once for what they say and then again for what they don’t say.


The double diffuser in this decision of the court is that no one is obliged to consider a set number or type of factors when ordering parties to mediate it is the court’s discretion which will apply on a case by case basis, but the impetus from the case is that the decision needs to be considered.




Springing off the decision of Churchill this article about mediation in HR is bang on the money.  Maintaining relationships in employment situations is key, calling a mediator in is not a sign of failure but of engagement.


When I work with employers and employees it’s a collaborative effort and can bring about significant change in practice not just inter-employees but for the company or group itself leading to changes in the handbook and grievance policy.


It comes as no surprise the article is written by David Liddle who has been pioneering mediation for decades his comment that how we deal with conflict in the workplace is a fundamental feature of how the business works is enlightening.


To corrupt the old Star Trek axiom how we deal with failure is at least as important as how we deal with success, or here how we deal with workplace problems is more important.


As David says the reliance on litigation to deal with workplace problems is both outdated and unhelpful.  Setting the steps in the handbook as grievance, appeal and court ensures that parties are only thinking of one possible outcome and everything becomes a fight from the first information from the disgruntled employee if the parties are already expecting to give evidence in court they will entrench early and stop engaging.  For some it will always be about wanting to leave the job with a payout but that should be the last resort and can be avoided by having embedded employment mediation on all levels.


Engage with your staff, from one who didn’t take a lesson being more open is more helpful.


The three pillars of mediation remain it’s voluntary (at the moment), 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 me at Northwest Mediation on 0161 667 4418 or via email at ed.johnson@northwestmediation.co.uk

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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