After years of heated arguments, months of striking and a Judicial Review hearing, yesterday’s news of a successful resolution to the dispute between NI lawyers and the Minister for Justice over Legal Aid Cuts will be welcomed by an array of people who have been affected by the issues.
A CBI report in 2012 concluded that workplace conflict costs the UK economy something in the region of £33billion a year. It estimated that 370 million workdays are lost as a result of conflict and approximately 20% of leadership time is spent dealing with it, and this doesn't mean resolving it.
At our recent seminar for lawyers ('Representing your Client Effectively in Mediation), a discussion arose between the participants on recent mediations they'd been involved in where the mediator had, in effect, simply brokered a deal between counsel for both sides. Accounts were exchanged indicating that this was a common practice and lawyers and clients were left wondering why they incurred the additional costs of a mediator when the likelihood was that the same deal would have been reached in the traditional 'joint consultation' in the Great Hall of the High Court in Belfast.
Chambers Rankings – Dorcas Crawford is the only NI mediator to be ranked in Chambers UK
These were the words of the ‘injured party’ in a recent mediation I conducted, but it became clear at a very early stage of the day that putting the dispute behind him would not be possible for him until he had really had the opportunity to express the extent of his feelings and to be heard.
On 2nd September the UK’s leading multi-sector ombudsman announced a new dispute resolution service that will help businesses resolve commercial disputes. Dorcas has joined a number of experienced mediators on the panel delivering the new service.
The chances are that a high number of people in the workplace will encounter some kind of dispute or conflict during their working life, whether they are involved personally or have witnessed it with colleagues.
View the launch of the better way , June 2015 with journalist Declan Lawn & Dorcas Crawford at the Mac Belfast.
In the South of Ireland a new Mediation Bill is imminent and it is hoped by all supporters of mediation that it will significantly improve the take-up of mediation in commercial disputes.