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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Using the crisis to your advantage

It’s interesting to note that even given the previous work on crisis following devastating hurricane’s in the US more is needed by way of work for the courts to take full advantage of online mediation services.

We live in interesting and challenging times, and no doubt there will be a number of relationships (personal and business) that come to blows as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, maybe it will also be a time when people are able to re-evaluate how they spend their time and energy.

In any event Northwest Mediation will continue to use Skype, email, phone and facetime for mediations and meetings and is open for business. We have to limit our usual personal visits to clients and in person mediations but that will not prevent us continuing helping clients resolve their disputes.

It will be obvious that I’m of a certain age and regularly throw in references to science fiction, but in the not too distant future when we begin living and working ex-terra (#exterramediation?) there will be a need for mediators in spaaaaaace (I would say I miss the Muppets but they seem to have taken over governing the west).

Whilst the article we link to is a bit after the event it’s good to see foresight being applied to how the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation 2019 (Singapore Convention) is being discussed and in line with articles 9 and 12 of the Outer Space Treaty, the governing international law relating to space activities that mediation is going to be the premier method of resolving disputes extra terrestrially.

Whether it be whoever becomes the real life Matt Damon (with his poo fertilised potatoes) or Elon Musk’s first passengers there will be a significant role for mediators to play in the future of dispute resolution.

Courts all over the world are having to consider how best to deal with matters during the evolving pandemic. The court in the case we reported on a few weeks ago in the dispute over casino revenue between the Oklahoma tribes and Governor Kevin Stitt has been obliged to give extra time to the parties as they simply cannot meet so has extended the deadline for two months.

Here in the UK courts (where they are still operating) have decreed no criminal trials lasting over 3 days should start, family finance cases should be dealt with on paper or virtually, although we hear today that some of the newest court buildings simply don’t have the equipment to have multiparty recorded hearings and will have to rely on the parties paying for the access to the various web based conferencing facilities, similarly law centres are having to limit face to face meetings. By contrast Northwest Mediation and most other mediators use free to access web based conference facilities.

We await guidance form the courts on how child arrangement orders will function or be enforced when the guidance out of HM Government is to limit all family visiting.

And given the increased need for mediation it’s unsurprising to find calls for more (and in particular in this instance more women) mediators to be trained. Mrs. Achere Cole Deputy Director of Lagos Multi-Door Courthouse (LMDC) called for the increased in training at a workshop marking International Women’s day saying:-

“For the promotion of effective dispute resolution, appropriate and speciality training, passion is required which will enable the parties and lawyers trust the process as well as the expertise of the neutral…I believe women have brought about a huge advancement in the dispute resolution industry, because they are steadfast, resilient and have built a profession in varying fields of dispute resolution”

With Skype freely available emails an almost constant form of communication we have thus far seen little impact on our work from the current health crisis. We at Northwest Mediation anticipate continuing to increase online work but as that has always been at least as successful as physical meeting for mediations the current limits on movement should not put anyone off.

As we’ve said before choose to mediate early and resolve your issues effectively, quickly, and with less stress and costs than going to your solicitor. 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 the solutions from and the methods of mediation 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 (and some lawyers) 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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