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In Place of Strife

The Mediation Chambers

Laying demons to rest

Mediators frequently encounter parties who see the other side as being the sole cause of all life’s misfortunes. A dispute between the parties can escalate to the point where it dominates their lives. The other side becomes the sole reason for wasted management and/or personal time, emotional upset, sleepless nights and cash-flow challenges. Once lawyers are involved the parties are unlikely to meet and the demonisation of the opponent continues, ramped up by the formality of the legal process. It inevitably creates a blockage to negotiating a settlement.

Until the mediation, that is. At some stage – usually very early on in the mediation - the parties come face to face across the table. If the mediator is effective, the demon ‘bubble’ is burst and both parties are able to see each other as human beings with the same challenges and emotions. The blockage is removed and the opportunity to achieve a settlement to their dispute is created. This is a powerful reason for having an early open session in the mediation.

It is not always possible for the lawyer to manage this demonising habit in parties but mediation gives everyone the opportunity to bring common sense and humanity back into the dispute.

Mediator: David Richbell

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