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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Unexpected and anticipated benefits of 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.


Back from a well earner rest where the weather was surprisingly warm (one does not generally expect sun burn in the lake district and certainly the weather reports in the days leading up to our hiking holiday led us to believe it was waterproofs and rain hats not sunscreen and sunhats) having had skin cancer once you would think I’d be better prepared, I guess sometimes things can be very different to expectations.


And yes that’s much the same as mediation for clients at least a lot think it will be cosy chats and metaphorical hugs, it’s really not, we’re not shrinks or counsellors in that sense we have to be straight with you and sometimes that’s hard to hear. I always tell clients I’ll be asking difficult questions, the easy ones your friends can ask but you come to mediation with a purpose, to resolve your issue and if that were easy you would have done it already.


Why do we charge? You know the song “It costs this much cos it takes me ***** hours”? Same thing for professional services this website isn’t free, the email servers aren’t the years of training and keeping up with developments has a cost, but it’s still lots cheaper than going to court (even if you are that lucky client who tells me they have saved up thousands ready for the fight could you not spend it on something better?). So no free mediation, but it is cheap mediation (especially if you can show an NHS link to your problem or your work as I still reduce fees by 10%).


Anyway enough intro what’s happening in the mediation news feeds this week?


First off we have an article about the usefulness of mediation in family disputes, well it’s good to know I’m not the only one who thinks it helps (and many of the points made also apply to civil disputes).


It’s a really nicely worded piece explaining that mediation doesn’t dictate the outcome it helps to “guide” parties to find their own agreed solution.


I don’t necessarily forget that mediation is much less formal than court when I’m dealing in mediation but it is nice to be reminded that the reason I don’t wear a suit was a conscious decision I took for me and for clients to put them at ease, of course with my lawyer hat on I stopped wearing suits unless I’m at court anyway so the difference isn’t really that significant in the client facing contact but obviously should you be fighting at court it’s a very different picture.


I also appreciate the suggestion that it’s only after repeated attempts of finding a solution that the mediator takes the almost regrettable step of sending clients off to court, it’s still too often that clients decide they want their day in court and the “repeated attempts” are sometimes just us talking through the realities of court, the expense, the stress, the impact on the whole family and let’s not forget the delay. I had one client a few weeks ago come back to me having been determined to go to court when he got the date of the hearing decided mediation was a far better solution on a time waiting basis alone!


I think it’s overstating to suggest that mediation binds the family together, it stops it becoming less destructive but to use that sort of phrase is to suggest some form of marriage guidance or reconciliation is possible, something which mediation is not intended to do or achieve.


Yes it helps couples accept their own and each other’s faults and move on but without full psych counselling there’s rarely going to be an adjustment at the core of the parties’ beings.


Turning to mediation as a method for achieving peace now another nice piece about building a modus vivendi (loosely a way forward in peace or at least a way of life with which to move forward). Looking for commonalities in people is part of this job, we are a lot more similar than we think being roughly the age old adage that finding things in common helps build communities and relationships, and in some cases repair those that have gone awry.


Interesting to note the writer mentions that “war fatigue” is often a pre-requisite to mediation in conflict, the horrible truth that a conflict which drags on becomes reason of itself to attempt peace talks, and in looking at Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that for the mediator to be trusted and genuinely neutral it cannot be the US, UK the EU (nor, in contradiction to the author’s comments, could it be China) as they have all shown a vested interest in supporting one or other side. Nor, as you know, do I take a neutral stance on this one, my use of the phrase “invasion” for instance certainly tells you where I am on the rights and wrongs, and even in the non lethal mediation I deal with you have to be clear about what terms are acceptable to parties (for instance “lie” and “liar” are rarely helpful or acceptable).


I like this piece, I don’t agree with Alfred’s comments regarding China’s neutrality or their plan or the reasons it isn’t acceptable to the “west” but he makes valid points regarding how to approach peace talk mediations.


Finally some news on interventions by mediators into a court of appeal case which could impact drastically on mediation in civil claims.


My governing body the CMC (Civil Mediation Council), CIArb (the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators) and CEDR (the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution) have all been given permission by the Court of Appeal to intervene in Churchill v Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, a case which will impact on the decision in Halsey v Milton Keynes General NHS Trust.


Halsey as you may know determined that the court had no jurisdiction to compel parties to mediate as doing so would be a breach of the Article 6 ECHR right to a fair trial.

A copy of the CMC’s intervention papers is here.


The issues on whether the court can compel parties to attend mediation is far reaching, the element of voluntary attendance would be smashed (but I still argue it already is the defendant here is arguing what I always say in civil claims the CPR requires litigation to be a last port of call therefore there si already a de facto requirement to try ADR of all types – this case relates to Japanese knotweed so homeowners with neighbour disputes will be impacted and they and their lawyers that I speak to in mediaitons are relatively unaware of the potential!).


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. 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 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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