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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Timing can be everything

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.

The timing of a question just as much as the timing of an answer can tell you a lot about people's motivations.

Your might think that asking for the profession (by which I mean mediators and I guess by extension lawyers) for their comments on mediation at the start of the holidays the Ministry Of Justice doesn’t really want to hear too much at all.

I couldn’t possibly comment, I mean apart from the fact we’re all working from home now so we mediators are likely to respond in as positive and meaningful way as we can (we’re all about progression and moving things forward after all) but we may get a little tetchy if you start to suggest we should be doing this gig for free.

It takes time and effort to train as a good mediator and none of that is free, nor is keeping up to date with your training and making sure everyone gets as much access as possible to the various methods we can use to resolve disputes. We’re cheaper than court but we can’t be free, you do tend to get a good service if you pay for it. There’s a reason we don’t do legal aid at Northwest Mediation and it’s because we value the service we provide and won’t work for the very low fees that legal aid offers. Counterintuitively legal aid means more admin and overhead yet lower rates of pay so we’ll keep referring on legal aid clients to colleagues who are ready willing and able to deal with them.

I’ve completed the questionnaire but it calls for evidence which (other than case numbers and outcomes) we don’t keep at Northwest Mediation as the whole process is confidential, we can certainly say mediation is cheaper, £25,000 to trial vs £900 mediation as we had this week, quicker, two years in a court process vs one day in a room, and less stressful as a result of both those factors, but how we prove this is the case other than spending several unpaid hours producing anonymised backgrounds on specific cases is difficult.

Timing is also important in my favourite mediation topic – how mediation helps landlords and tenants. Time is up for the ban on evictions as of last weekend in Milwaukee and so now tenants are beginning to feel the pressure which has been held off during the pandemic.

Thankfully mediation remains an option and landlords can access the assistance as well, how much time and money is spent finding good tenants?

Amy Koltz, executive director of Mediate Milwaukee says "There’s no judgment involved, the mediator doesn’t work as a judge to make a decision for the parties we also don’t advocate for one party or the other".

It’s difficult as landlords are just as out of pocket as tenants but with the help of a mediator payment schedules, extensions of rent repayments and defaulting clauses can be agreed upon to give all parties some breathing space. One of the other benefits is the parties seeing each other as people not just a name or number and appreciating why they have acted how they have and what can be done to avoid it happening again.

Meanwhile in Providence the Catholic church (the last standing Defendant in the long running hospital employee pension dispute) has agreed to attend mediation (cf 1 Timothy 2:5 for those of you who know).

The 2700 claimants represented by Max Wistow filed claims relating to the fund from their time at the Fatima Hospital and the former St. Joseph Hospital. There were and are accusations of conspiracy and fraud and everyone settled except the Diocese of Providence.

Frank Williams has been appointed as mediator and Max has said that “We’re optimistic that something can happen.

The pension plan itself went into receivership some years ago and pension pots were cut by 40% .

One of the other defendants, Prospect Medical, has already agreed to $27 million settlement which has already been approved by District Court Judge William Smith (he was possibly born and raised in West Philadelphia).

Prospect itself had a change of structure but was only allowed to do so once an $80 million account had been set up for just this claim.

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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