Commercial Mediation on 0780 288 8418

    Family and Workplace on 0773 098 2140


The difference between compassion and empathy and the importance of boundaries

Have a watch of this:

Brené Brown on empathy, compassion and boundaries…

Posted by The Work of the People on Saturday, 5 March 2016

What is so good about mediation?

It is a little like what Benjamin Franklin said:

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”.

If you tell parties what to do or what you think they should do they will probably forget any benefit and remain annoyed about the dispute, possibly for years.

If you try to teach them how to problem solve without mediating they may remember some of it and gain benefit.

If you involve them, such as when the mediator has them doing all the work of talking, engaging, discussion, dialogue, exploration, explanation, uncovering, digging, delving, discovering, noticing, hearing, drilling down, finding a way and solving etc., they will learn that this is the best solution they can do and how to live with it, move on from it and prosper because of it.

Before you think of court proceedings

Consider mediation because before you go to court you are meant to follow the general or specific pre-action protocol that applies to your type of case and as you can see below in paragraph 3. (d) you must consider a form of ADR to assist with settlement.

The specific protocols are set out in Paragraph 18 so for all other types of case Paragraph 3 below applies.


  1. Pre-action protocols explain the conduct and set out the steps the court would normally expect parties to take before commencing proceedings for particular types of civil claims. They are approved by the Master of the Rolls and are annexed to the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR). (The current pre-action protocols are listed in paragraph 18.)
  2. This Practice Direction applies to disputes where no pre-action protocol approved by the Master of the Rolls applies.


Objectives of pre-action conduct and protocols

  1. Before commencing proceedings, the court will expect the parties to have exchanged sufficient information to—

    (a) understand each other’s position;

(b) make decisions about how to proceed;

(c) try to settle the issues without proceedings;

(d) consider a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to assist with settlement;

(e) support the efficient management of those proceedings; and

(f) reduce the costs of resolving the dispute.


  1. Specific Pre-Action Protocols exist for the following:
Protocol Came into force
Personal Injury 6 April 2015
Resolution of Clinical Disputes 6 April 2015
Construction and Engineering 02 October 2000
Defamation 02 October 2000
Professional Negligence 16 July 2000
Judicial Review 6 April 2015
Disease and Illness 8 December 2003
Housing Disrepair 6 April 2015
Possession Claims by Social Landlords 6 April 2015
Possession Claims for Mortgage Arrears 6 April 2015
Dilapidation of Commercial Property 1 January 2012
Low Value Personal Injury Road Traffic Accident Claims 30 April 2010 extended from 31 July 2013
Low Value Personal Injury Employers’ and Public Liability Claims 31 July 2013

Congratulations to Eileen Pereira on becoming the new Chief Executive of the Civil Mediation Council

Eileen Pereira has been appointed the new Chief Executive of the CMC.  She comes from a Family Mediation background and hopefully we may draw together Family, Workplace, Commercial and Community, Inter-faith and Trans-gender as well as all types of mediation so that Professional Mediators can be part of one professional body, which we believe is a dream of Sir Alan Ward, the Chair of the CMC.

Mediation is not alternative, it is mainstream, most used and most effective, cheap and quick


In a report this month, quoting Sarah Gonzales, Assistant Director of Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law, USA, she said that recent studies of dispute resolutions show that 95% of them are not going to court but settled outside by negotiation, mediation or arbitration.

Not only is it cheaper and quicker than going to court, it is also confidential and a chance for the individuals involved to step up and take control of the dispute they are in to manage it as they feel fit.  Ownership of the dispute remains with them and is not taken over by the lawyers as it would be in court.  They not only get their own say but they also get to decide what happens rather than having a decision imposed upon them.

Mediation is mainstream and not alternative.

Surely mediate agreements of any kind are the way forward in the 21st Century?

Martin Luther King – There is always hope…

“If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. 
And so today I still have a dream.”

Martin Luther King Jr (1929-68)

Hard Wired Prejudice


Scientific research has shown that the human brain responds more strongly to information about groups of people portrayed unfavourably.  This suggests the negative depiction of ethnic or religious minorities in the media can add to prejudice.

Neuroscientist, Hugo Spiers of University College London, points out how negative stories stand out and how news is full of what we dislike.  If someone from a stereotyped bad group of people does something normally pleasant and normally favoured, they are assumed to be doing it for some other purpose as our brains cannot credit them.

Brain scans of people looking at pictures of groups of people deemed as good or bad, taking actions that the watcher thought “good” or “bad” showed that the negative snippets about the “bad” group became deemed as more and more negative.  More so than if the good group did similar “bad” things.

This is the functioning within the brain that shows implicit bias developing into prejudice.


What is the answer?  We believe it is necessary to actively check oneself and any other being to question assumptions about any other person and always make a humble enquiry.

No Fester Zone

We like the Academy of Chief Executives concept of No Fester Zone:

Conflict: Deal with it!

– By Andrew B Morris

  1. The Academy has a term called a ‘NO FESTER ZONE’meaning that as soon as a potential misunderstanding emerges, it is tackled immediately. If it’s allowed to fester it will just grow and become a bigger problem to deal with.
  2. AVOID JUDGEMENT: If you have an issue with someone, sit down in a quiet space and present the facts to them in a non-confrontational manner, starting with what’s working well and then moving onto what isn’t. It’s critical to remain non-judgemental, stating how you’re feeling first and then supporting this with the facts of what’s occurred as you see them. For example: “I’m feeling confused and frustrated… because I don’t understand the unusual behaviour you displayed at the sales meeting.”
  3. LISTEN AND EMPATHISE: Allow them to respond, without interruption, putting yourself in their shoes. Ask open questions so they don’t become defensive. This way you can start to get to the real heart of the problem.
  4. KEEP HOLD OF YOUR VALUES: Remind yourselves of the organisation’s values and expected cultural behaviours to reach a solution, compromising if necessary, without losing sight of the outcome you’re seeking. Make it a joint decision.
  5. BE CLEAR ABOUT THE OUTCOME: Replay the agreed action and agree to review this at a time and place that suits both parties. BUT be clear that if the same situation reoccurs there will be consequences.

Fathers do OK in UK

No anti-father bias in family courts, research finds

2 June 2015 By Chloe Smith from the Gazette with thanks.

Topics: Family and children,Courts business

Men are treated fairly when trying to get access to their children in family courts, and are ‘overwhelmingly successful’ in getting contact applications approved, a study of 200 cases since 2011 has found.

The joint report by the University of Warwick and the University of Reading counters the widespread perception that family courts in England and Wales discriminate against fathers because of a gender bias.

More mediation needed in a “perfect storm of financial difficulties” – Lord Neuberger

The president of the Supreme Court has tentatively thrown his support behind extending compulsory mediation to smaller civil cases. Lord Neuberger, in a speech entitled ‘a view from on high’, praised mediation for being quicker, cheaper, less stressful and less time-consuming than litigation. He also said potential outcomes were more flexible and more likely to leave both parties emerging as ‘winners’.

Due to the benefits of mediation he argued that there is ‘a lot of be said’ for extending compulsory mediation information and assessment meetings (MIAM), which the Ministry of Justice introduced last spring, to smaller civil claims. The MIAM scheme, which is often free, currently has to be used before parties can bring family proceedings. Neuberger also advocated extending mediation to contract-based disputes such as possession claims based on nuisance and annoyance, adding that some tenancy agreements could include a clause requiring mediation. But he said that more data was needed on mediation to fully identify what types of cases are likely to mediate successfully.

Neuberger noted that there are some disadvantages to mediation, including a perceived lack of credibility. ‘The right of access to courts is fundamental and, like all rights, it has to be genuinely available to all. And so mediation must not be invoked and promoted as if it was always an improved substitute for litigation,’ he said. But he added that despite this ‘we can and should be pretty uninhibited’ about supporting the idea of mediation in civil and family disputes.

In many civil and family cases proper litigation would lead to costs and time being disproportionate to the value of the case, he said.

Neuberger’s comments come against the backdrop of what he calls an ‘almost perfect storm of financial difficulties’ that could deprive ordinary people from access to justice.

Our thanks to Chloe Smith of the Gazette for this article.