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  • Ed Johnson

Zoom mediation and the future?

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.


As the MOJ, FMC and CMC all consider what next in virtual mediation (cf cat out of bag) Larry Schachner has some thoughts here on the benefits of the Zoom platform and also echoes my thoughts on what he misses from the in person mediations.


I have now begun to do a mix of in person and virtual, virtual remains the chosen method for the vast majority of clients but some still require in person, I think particularly of those who struggle with eyesight, hearing or technology. Whilst I can happily say my seventy something ex minister mother has become adept at giving sermons, services and succor over zoom that does not mean that we should expect everyone to be happy to discuss their most difficult issues over the internet.


Northwest Mediation has access to various offices and meeting rooms and we use them as and when needed or preferred by clients and it has been joyous to speak to real people in person when on site around the North and in London whether they be involved in the mediation or simply in the offices where we work. As I write this I am in Manchester having just finished an in person mediation and about to spend the evening with a former colleague who I have only seen once before this year and I am looking forward to conversing in real time and being able to respond to actual body language queues above and beyond the face and shoulders which Zoom allows you to see. Never has the phrase “you should get out more” been so accurate.


I know he’s not the man you’d necessarily choose for your mediator and I tend to think this is more a political request a than an actual hope that Russia’s Vladimir Putin is an independent arbiter/voice in the Polish/Belarus migrant crisis, but that’s who Angela Merkel has asked to help out.


She made the request during a phone call this week to try and get Vladimir to help end the humanitarian disaster which is being blamed on Belarus’ leader Alexander Lukashenko. Alexander is said to have been encouraging his security teams to take immigrants to the Polish border in an effort to destabilize the EU, which in turn is a reaction to the EU’s ongoing sanctions which were brought in following his somewhat questionable win in the country’s most recent elections.


Heiko Mass the German foreign minister had made it clear earlier in the week that the EU was not going to be blackmailed in this way and would be seeking further sanctions against Lukashenko.


Certainly someone needs to step in who can talk to both sides before the harshest of the winter sets in and causes untold death and misery to the camps forming on the borders of Belarus and it’s EU neighbours.


It causes me genuine pain to feature some members of the UK government, but I cannot avoid mentioning Dominic Raab’s comments this week about encouraging mediation by stiffer penalties and making it the default in all family cases to free up the courts who continue to suffer a huge backlog.


With this government I continue to worry that behind every good bit of news there is a new company being formed by a donor or family member of the party’s hierarchy which will opt for and be given a exclusive contract without any consultation or consideration of the actual benefit.


However taking my sceptical hat off this would be a sea change (the sea was always open Dom) in the manner in which cases get to court, it would mean an actual engagement by parties and their representatives in settling matters through mediation, the voucher scheme has freed up thousands of hours of court time, when was the last time this government gave out money to help people (who weren’t owners of convenient holiday villas or in need of a peerage) they are recognising the value of mediation in dealing with the backlog, let’s hope it continues and that they also see the benefit in civil mediation.


The three pillars of mediation remain it’s voluntary, 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 Northwest Mediation on 07931318347 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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