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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Voices in mediation

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.

I was fortunate enough to attend a concert this week during which the warm up act spoke of her love of the Little Mermaid but her rejection that anyone should ever give up their voice for anything (especially in TLM’s case for a man).

I’ve been thinking about not having a voice a lot this last three weeks as I struggle through mediations with laryngitis causing fits of coughing and a not so sexy hoarse voice which I heard bounce back on one client’s zoom call.

Mediation is all about giving the unheard a voice when it comes to children there is a strong push for the voice of the child to be heard, my most recent CIM case had the depressing news that despite the 20+ year old research saying how important it was we still really only have CIM as and when parents can afford it and generally even then only one CIM meeting not the “process” which is recommended by the research (by the way if anyone has any more up to date research I’d be interested to know what the kids of today feel about having a voice, 20 years ago there was still more of a stigma to being from a “broken home” views may have changed and we need to know the current impact of CIM on cases).  I digress.

But not being heard is often at the back of civil mediation cases, whether in an inheritance not being recognised as part of the family or entitled to support from the deceased, or a contract dispute where the issue has been one party not listening the reason the other felt they had to breach or weren’t able to fulfil the contract.  Getting those voices heard is equally important to finding a resolution.

As per this piece from BP Collins solicitors the outcome of the recent government research into mandatory family mediation has steered around making mediation obligatory but focused in on hearing from the children. 

There is some hope that when the new grown up government is appointed in place of the inept posh boys currently running the slash and burn retreat out of government that the voucher scheme might be extended to cover the cost of a CIM meeting, the difficulty is that the amount that costs is probably going to be underestimated (CIM plus mediator x 3 meetings soon totals £1000 which sounds a lot when in the cold light of day but compare to fighting it out at court is still vastly cheaper – but not if you self-represent say some clients, and there lies another issue which means more people end up arguing over kids at court because the CAFCASS officer will present the child’s voice potentially without the same charge as a CIM).

One of the three main reasons to go for mediation is that it is cheaper so that argument is damaged in these cases, however it remains quicker and substantially less stressful so don’t just rely on the finance factor being the element which will get people into mediation.

In India the Executive Chair of the Andhra Pradesh State Legal Services Authority (APSLSA) Judge Akula Venkata Sesha Sai has encouraged all counsel to help reduce court lists and assist clients by steering more into mediation with a five day advocates’ mediation programme.

As with my comments above the course is intended to ensure everyone involved is properly listened to and issues resolved in the most time efficient manner, most civil cases I deal with still resolve in the space of one day, something IMHO that family mediation needs to embrace is longer sessions especially when dealing with finances where the parties already know they want to talk money and have collated at least some if not all of the paperwork (or could be encouraged to do so) prior to the first joint session.

Finally a “shout out” for this weekend’s town of culture events in Stockport.  Why, well not least because is also me but because it’s been an interesting year to conduct mediations in the shadow of the new builds and the re-emergence of the town as a premier centre for living and growing.  If you do live or work in Stockport and have an issue you would like to discuss please don’t hesitate to give me a call I can always pop round to discuss matters.

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

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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