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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Why? The only question needed in 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.


Watching SAS Rogue Heroes mad dog Paddy Mayne reminds the French troops that they should always ask “why?” so that when things go wrong (he puts it rather more bluntly) you know what to do to achieve the objective.


Why is the question that we are trained to ask in mediation more than any other, why did you feel this way, why have you said that? It isn’t a question you ask a lot in common parlance who, what where and when being more regular attendees. But as children you ask why constantly so we should get back to it.



One article this week as “why do people choose divorce mediation?” and if you’re in the UK you’ll be kept guessing without a vpn to that article. But let’s run through the reasons anyway.



It’s quicker, far quicker now than any court run service, months of delays will cause you to refresh and rerun arguments.


The delay itself is part of the stress of divorce and avoidance of that stress is another answer to the question why mediate?


It’s cheaper, good god is it cheaper, I was with one couple who some months into the divorce had already spent the thick end of £10k dealing with their finances through lawyers, but even on a reasonable fee of several thousand a few hundred pounds is far better invested in mediation.


It doesn’t seek to score points, forcing you into entrenched positions isn’t something divorce lawyers are supposed to do but inevitably your lawyer only represents you they are not looking for a jointly agreeable way forward.


Mediation is also vastly more convenient, whether we meet at the offices in Macclesfield or meeting rooms near to you (either is fine with me) or even by zoom so you don’t even need to travel you won’t be obliged to slog into court at any point (which in Manchester either by train is at the moment dreadful or if you’re parking horrendously expensive). I’ll take you through what you need to provide, guide you on the steps necessary before we meet to review and reach agreement, all the time making sure both sides are fully informed and supported, I even bring cake on occasion.


Dentons have another answer for why mediation should be chosen in construction cases, and it’s a little thing called the pre action protocol.


The PAP requires parties not only to consider ADR but to have met once with a view to settlement in some form of ADR (mediation being the most well known and I have to say the best).


There’s a couple of cases in this article from Sarah Alexander counsel at Dentons but Epoq Legal Ltd v. DAS Legal Expenses Insurance Co Ltd [2022] EWHC 1577 is the most informative.


The successful party sought indemnity (think penalty) costs but because of what was described as “foot dragging” they were not allowed the penalty costs. The foot dragging in question was in taking time to refuse to mediate, so not the refusal per se but the implication is that failure to properly consider and engage in requests for mediation will result in a worse outcome even if you win!


The other case strikes me as a bit of a watering down by saying that refusal to mediate is one factor to take into account on deciding whether to award indemnity costs and not determinative I think the court is out of step with the coming push for more mediation, and I anticipate future decisions (given the comments of the master of the rolls) will put more emphasis.


One other why you should use mediation is the expanded options available to you in settlement, I often refer to cases where handshakes and apologies have been more important than the numbers involved.



In this article from Trinidad, Colorado, the team are looking to expand from two volunteer staff, former lawyer and former prison office, so as to enable them to offer increased capacity for the various settlement options available in mediation.


Yes often it’s about a bottom line figure but not always and often understand from the mediator’s point of view “why” you are litigating allows us to understand why you might agree to a reasonable settlement which allows you to then walk away which may then just leave you asking “why did I take so long to mediate?”


The three pillars of mediation remain it’s voluntary (except apparently when it won’t be anymore), 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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