Mediation – its real value

Lock down is challenging in many ways. For some it provides too much time to dwell on unresolved disputes which drain energy and take up headspace. Mediation has been and still is available online and may offer you the opportunity to explore a lasting resolution. Grasping the nettle of grievance is not diminished by the fact it is an online experience. Mediation remains a challenging process but provided the technology is available, the parties’ active participation is assured.

If you, your company or organisation is owed money and you want to pursue a claim you can do so online. Before doing so, the text on the link encourages you to try and ‘resolve the issue by discussion or mediation’. By then, it may feel that the opportunity for discussion or mediation has passed. Experience shows however that discussion can be reinvigorated and mediation prompted even where parties have reached a stale mate.

The radio series ‘Behind Closed Doors’ in January this year highlighted what can happen in court and in mediation. It reveals peoples’ need for answers to difficult problems and a forum to achieve an outcome. The desire to persuade a court to side with them and be vindicated remains strong. And there is an alternative to court where the parties take a more active part in reaching an outcome, by using mediation.

The reduction of in-person hearings at court and an encouragement to reach agreement ought not to be perceived as a drive towards mediationWhere parties have received independent legal advice and understand the merits of their claim, access to online mediation remains available. There is now the added value of reaching certainty in uncertain times. Reaching an agreement via mediation can have a value all of its own, known only to the parties.

Much has already been written about the availability of online mediation and how it works with virtual rooms for private discussion as well as space for all parties to be present. There remain some disputes which are not amenable to mediation. For the very many disputes which could access mediation and achieve an outcome, it is worth carefully considering the option.

If you are unsure whether your dispute is one which can be mediated, please get in touch. If there is to be a mediation, the parties will be provided with ample time with the mediator ahead of the mediation date, to test the technology. This reassures parties that all aspects of the dispute can be explored during the mediation and is part of the preparation of achieving resolution.