As the home based mediation this morning revolved around the question “why do you feel your wish for a lift to school with your friends takes precedence over your brother’s wish?” is ended by the win-win of “you can all walk” it’s good for their health, the planet in general and me, we have a quick jaunt further afield than Manchester to look at current mediation stories.
Lots of US stories seem to start with “the county” taking issue with the “city”, I know it’s a convenient way to look at cases as indeed in litigation the legal entities are those involved, but as with any corporate mediation its actually people at who are involved and in a mediation.
It's the wishes and desires of those people not some amorphous blob of a legal entity with which you deal. It’s the same in employment cases, the employee feels “the company” is against them but when you mediate between staff it’s actually the people involved who not only caused the issue out of which the dispute arose but who hold the key to resolution.
In this case of City v County it’s a 47 acre estate which is being developed and the parties have a difference of opinion on how the development was agreed to go forward and what should be done about it.
Ramsey County wants more affordable housing with a greater density of population (no doubt to achieve its own targets) whereas the Arden Hills City wants less affordable housing and lower density (no doubt to satisfy voters and encourage wealthier homeowners flood into the City).
Without knowing the detail of the original 2016 plan, the site involved and precisely what the differences are it’s difficult to make any meaningful comment, but clearly the court feels that mediation between two legal entities is sensible, as it always is when there is a future relationship to maintain and (let’s be frank) a middle ground which can be achieved without paying fees to lawyers for the privilege.
In some mediation situations you come out with an agreement and the parties say to you “we could have got to this settlement ourselves, why did we need to come to mediation?” the short answer is that they had to come because without the help of the mediator they manifestly could not achieve settlement, otherwise they would have done so! This feels like one of those cases.
Still in the US but with a Russian flavour now you will recall we blogged previously about dual national billionaire Valentin Gapontsev (who holds both Russian and US nationality) challenge to his inclusion on the Kremlin list (citizens with undesirable links to the Russian government resulting in them being barred from certain contracts).
When we last blogged the case was being sent to mediation, now a few months later key terms for the mediation have been agreed, a press release said
“The parties have agreed on the key terms arising from the mediation and expect to file paperwork so reflecting next week. In light of that schedule, the parties respectfully submit that no further status reports will be necessary,"
Algeira now and the disturbing news that whilst we at Northwest Mediation may get the occasional threat during a mediation, normally quickly withdrawn and apologised for, there are some mediators who face genuine risk of violence.
In Algeria members of the National Commission for Dialogue and Mediation who are looking to achieve a lasting peace in the country have faced death threats simply for doing their jobs.
Co-ordinator Karim Younes said "We are just volunteers and we will leave as soon as our mission is over…some of those criticising the Commission’s work reject the idea of achieving a truce in Algeria"
"We want to find a solution to the country, but we are being accused to a point that some of us have been threatened with death just because we appeared on TV…Dialogue should be for all Algeria and Algerians so that we can get out of the crisis. We do not represent the authority or the popular movement”
Over (or under) in New Zealand the encouragement for mediation between farmers and loan companies continues.
Now there comes a call to ensure that the borrower isn’t precluded from mediation simply because they cannot afford to.
Whilst Northwest Mediation’s fees are very reasonable (less than the hourly rate for a plumber to fix your dishwasher, by the way) there are times when clients simply cannot afford them, but we’re not a charity so we cannot assist for free.
In New Zealand the call is for the loan companies and insurers to pay the fees for the farmers attending mediation to deal with their debts.
Federated Farmers Sharemilkers chairman Richard McIntyre says that no doubt the cost will be passed on to farmers in time in the form of increased fees but at least it would mean that the borrower is involved in the mediation process and not prevented from taking advantage of the excellent mediation services available in the land of the Kiwi.
Highlighting the need for mediation to be on an equal footing McIntyre said “We can have legislation that makes mediation mandatory, but it’s the bank which holds the overdraft and essentially holds the purse-strings. They effectively decide whether or not to go ahead with mediation by choosing whether or not to make funds available for the sharemilker to fund their share.
“We suggested to the select committee that they consider either making the banks or lenders pay for the whole thing -- which we argued they could fund indirectly through increased fees -- or make it compulsory for the lender to make funds available by way of overdraft for the farmer or sharemilker to be able to fund their share of mediation.
“It is a bit tough going up against an unlimited chequebook especially if [the other party] controls your chequebook.”
McIntyre also said that mediation should be encouraged at an earlier stage to avoid the ongoing drop in numbers of farmers unable to continue working given the drop in milk prices and other financial pressure on the farmers.
As we’ve said before choose to mediate early and resolve your issues effectively, quickly and with less stress and costs than going to your solicitor.
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 (and some lawyers) 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 or landlord, family issues, commercial disputes, civil mediation or inheritance, wills and probate arguments contact Northwest Mediation on 07931318347 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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