What's new

The article in the Christchurch Press published on 8 August 2016 raises a very important legal issue about the enforceability of agreements which are made at mediation. It also highlights the importance of the agreement to mediate which is the foundation document for the parties agreeing to enter into confidential discussions with the expressed purpose of trying to reach a settlement or understanding on the resolution of differences that have arisen between them.
As a mediator I often hear that the parties to a commercial mediation just want to undertake an evaluative or settlement-focussed mediation. They believe that there are no issues about relationship and often say that they have no interest in an ongoing relationship with the other party. These mediations often end in late night haggling about "splitting the difference", use of impasse breaking strategies such as silent auction, staircasing settlement offers, using mediator knowledge experience and gravitas to provide evaluative comments aimed at promoting settlement as well as mediation fatigue.
The Houston Chronicle reported on 1 June 2016 that Uber was offering leases on new cars as an incentive for new contract drivers. The car lease fee is deducted weekly from the driver’s earnings, regardless of how much—or how little—they earn that week. If they fail to make a payment, Xchange repossesses the car. One could argue that Uber is simply removing a barrier for those who wish to drive for them, and in doing so, is making it easy for the driver to meet lease obligations and for Uber to protect its investment. However, there are a number of issues with this arrangement.
All of New Zealand mourns the death of Moko Rangitoheriri. He is another one of our precious children whose short life was taken through violence and neglect. The outpouring of emotion throughout the country must now be turned into positive action to prevent another child suffering from child abuse. Many voices are calling for accountability from social service agencies who may have been involved with the family. The problem is that we have too many cases for these agencies to take care of and therefore we must each and every one of us take responsibility to help and support those people who are creating and caring for our children.

State-owned mediator Fair Way Resolution* is earning cash for the Government by keeping commercial and private property disputes out of court.

Fair Way Resolution has been mediating building industry disputes since November last year, adding to its growing presence in the dispute mediation industry.

Fair Way was created in 1999 to mediate ACC disputes, but five years ago became an independent Crown-owned company.

Recently it was reported that Madonna had, with the assistance of a mediator resolved a bitter child care dispute between her and the father of her child Rocco. It was reported that agreement had been reached which involved the parents ensuring that their son saw them as two functioning and capable parents who were able to put aside their differences for the sake of their son. It also appears that they involved him in the decision and were prepared to listen to his views which given his age would be essential to any agreement.

Mediation is about revelling in the pauses, honouring them, leaning into them. It is about slowing down, about being purposeful in everything that is said and done. There is a deliberate process by which things occur, how participants speak to each other, and how information is conveyed. This is why mediation works. This is why, in the best outcomes, everyone comes away from the table with an entirely new perspective.
When employment relationships take a turn, there can often feel like there is no way back. However, mediation can be a powerful tool in rehabilitating working relationships. To do this, the mediator creates an environment which allows people to be both authentic and to express themselves in ways that are appropriate and do not result in recrimination or further negative conflict. Instead of the parties being locked into defending positions and holding themselves back, they feel comfortable expressing themselves and are open to other viewpoints. It’s about feeling safe enough to be vulnerable.
The story in the Dominion Post about the Wellington landlord discovering that his house had been trashed by tenants whilst his property was being managed by a Property Management company highlights several issues for landlords who instruct property management companies or services to look after their investments.