Since Caroline’s death things have been tough for Shula and Alistair in Borchester, I refer of course to BBC Radio 4's The Archers.
I was delighted last year when I was able to include a reference to the Archers in a blog on mediation and now again I get the chance to applaud Radio 4’s long running drama for their attention to detail. Rather than slog matters out in the court the soon to be divorced Lloyds are off to mediation.
Whilst it may seem trite to reference fictional mediations it is important that mediation as a concept continues to be portrayed in popular culture as well as in the professional arena in order to ensure that the process features in the psyche of the public at large. Who knows maybe Brian could do with some mediation over the consequences of polluting of the River Am.
In the real world but still with a country edge to it mediation is to take place to deal with the dispute between wild fowl enthusiasts and opponents in Findhorn Bay (Scotland).
Scottish Natural Heritage told Moray Council it will fund the mediation to deal with when and where shooting can take place and the conduct of those taking part.
The estimate of re-writing the by-law is over £30,000 whilst the cost of mediation is likely to be less than half, taking into account the interested parties including Scottish Association for Country Sports and British Association for Shooting and Conservation as well as local bird watchers and property owners.
Down nearly to the other end of this Sceptred Isle we go to Suffolk where the county council has trained 12 of its internal staff to act as in house mediators in internal matters potentially saving the council thousands in lost hours of work and the costs associated with losing staff and retraining replacements.
Staying with government employment law issues in American in Port Townsend, Washington State, Philip Morley, Jefferson County Administrator has said that allegations of misconduct against Sheriff Dave Stanko (currently up for re-election) will now go to mediation.
The complaint is one of employment law, with Mike Stringer, a former Captain in the County Sheriff’s department, who alleges that Stanko attempted demote him without reason and otherwise ridiculed, belittled and harassed him during his time in office.
Stringer has asked for $250,000 but expressed a willingness to enter mediation, provided he didn’t have to pay for the service.
An internal investigation cleared Stanko with the investigator saying there was no basis to conclude there had been any violation of law or policy, there is however one striking addition to the comments which is the investigator’s foot note to the report which says “although the alleged remarks did not violate non-discrimination policies, such conduct — if it occurred — seems out of place in today’s professional law enforcement working environment.”
Stringer has said that he took retirement earlier than otherwise would have been the case due to Stanko’s actions “Being forced to retire has made a significant impact to my future financially, losing up to 10 years of salary and impacting my retirement pension significantly” before adding “This is a very significant amount and significant impact to my family’s retirement, by no fault of my own…Putting a dollar amount on David Stanko’s abuse is almost impossible, but again, his constant abuse, harassment, and eventual demand for my retirement, had, and continues to have, a significant impact on my life.”
If you want more evidence of where employment mediation is being successful see this article in Civil Service News which is an excellent bit of background on how much money and time can be saved by the process.
Still in the US but over in Detroit prisoners with complaints are now being directed to an early mediation service in the hope of saving the state thousands
Detroit Federal District Judge Victoria Roberts said “Many prisoners have legitimate claims, but lack the legal education to successfully navigate the legal system. These lawsuits create a significant drain on state and federal resources. We think many of these cases can be resolved if we can get everybody in the same room to come to a resolution satisfactory to everyone.”
A statement released by the federal government added that "The Michigan Department of Correction (MDOC) is hopeful that the mediation program will result in early resolution of cases thereby reducing the burdens and cost on the MDOC and taxpayers that result from traditional litigation"
In 2017 over 200 law suits were commenced by prisoners with most never making it to a final hearing as the manner in which the cases were set out by those representing themselves (97% of cases) did not meet the necessary standard of explanation of what the complaint was about.
Similar schemes are already running in Arizona, California, Idaho and Pennsylvania. The plan is for court staff to consider each complaint and then use the 90 day stay for the prisoners and the state to mediate an agreed settlement via a fixed mediation hearings list every Tuesday.
Mediation ensures that complainant and complained of are both fairly represented and given an equal chance of putting their claims forward. My only complaints in respect of this scheme is that of the 40 mediators offered none are being paid and all are full time lawyers.
Whether it’s an employment issue, a complaint with the council’s decisions, property dispute, or family inheritance you can tell by the way that mediation is embraced around the world that mediation is cheaper, quicker and less stressful than running any case to court.
Northwest Mediation 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 or inheritance arguments contact Northwest Mediation on 07931318347 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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