Every mediator has a different approach to mediation, David Paul, a lawyer in Kamloops in British Columbia has taken the bold step of involving another third party…his dog.
My own avoidance of pets due to allergies (and a traumatic memory of a certain judge who used to sit with his dogs at Macclesfield County Court) means I won’t be considering taking pets into mediation.
Pet therapy has, however, been used in the past in many institutions and the effects are well documented.
Paul initially just took his dog along as it was convenient but has now published a paper on the use of dogs in mediation "I always thought there was something calming about his presence with my clients…Having him in there created a new dimension. It was really impacting on the parties' emotions."
He added that "Dogs are attuned to our feelings and our emotions and our health and our being," and that he had identified "convincing evidence of a dog's ability to bring stability to one's affective and cognitive disposition."
Paul is currently training, Charlie a 13-month-old poodle to work with him.
"He's highly intelligent, he's very affectionate, he's very obedient, and he's going to make an excellent therapy dog."
More wolves than dogs in commercial banks but still with developments in mediation and in Uganda, where the delays in banking disputes have meant years of backlogged cases the Uganda Law Society in conjunction with the commercial courts have opted for mediation to form a key part of the reforms of the legal system.
An ADR Framework for the whole of the banking sector was announced by Louis Kasekende Deputy Governor of the Bank of Uganda as part of the reforms to reduce the “overwhelmed” commercial courts.
The project established an ADR centre with its sustainability guaranteed by a board of trustees who will oversee the implementation of the rules intended to complement the consumer complaints section of the banking industry.
Kasekende said “It is estimated that, on average, commercial litigation requires a minimum of four years to be completed. Delays of this magnitude are extremely costly for financial institutions….this in turn raises the cost of credit or induces banks to curtail the volume of their lending.”
Something sadly lacking in the UK but present in Uganda is a Case Backlog Reduction Committee which released a report this year that over 3000 cases were in the court’s backlog.
Chairperson UBA and the Managing Director of Centenary Bank Fabian Kasi, said “As a sector we established the Assets Reconstruction Company (ARC), a private sector led initiative that addresses some of the challenges facing the banking sector, and stressed businesses as a result of Non-Performing Loans…The second initiative for us is to support the establishment of the alternative dispute resolution frame work being championed by the Uganda law society to address the issue of case back log, accumulated injunctions and delays in formal justice system.”
President of the Ugandan Law Society, Francis Gimara, said mediation will produce “…fast and efficient resolution of disputes”
I blogged previously on my daughter’s role as a restorative ambassador at her school in Stockport and I note a report his week from Baltimore that Harford County Public Schools has joined forces with the Harford County Community Services on an initiative called “Peaceful Alternatives”, which is a free conflict resolution and mediation program available in elementary schools in the borough.
As with Stockport’s program this supports a safe learning environment with the first workshop having been a success for fourth graders (ages 8-9 year olds) at Aberdeen's Hall’s Cross Roads Elementary School with more than 70 children completing and graduating from the course. “I like how mediation helped me control my anger and work better with the kids in my class.” Said one child in the feedback.
The plan is to roll out the scheme to other schools over the next two years, with a view to tackling one off problems but also underlying issues including truancy, lateness and health.
And finally having recognized the success of the mediation pilot scheme the Ontario Securities Commission has confirmed that the mediation program will now be a permanent fixture in securities disputes in Canada.
Respondents involved in enforcement are now able to apply for mediation within the system but, as ever with mediation, with an independent third party mediator.
The pilot scheme proved that enforcement could be dealt with quickly and saving costs Director of Enforcement at the OSC Jeff Kehoe said “Our Mediation Program has proven to be successful in fostering fast and fair resolutions in appropriate cases…We’re pleased to permanently add this valuable resource to our growing enforcement toolkit.”
Deadlines for mediators wanting to be considered for a role in the program is 30/4/18 so get applying.
Mediation is cheaper, quicker and less stressful than running any case to court, it can help with any dispute (with or without a dog) 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 or inheritance arguments contact Northwest Mediation on 07931318347 or via email at email@example.com
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