It's a Blogs World - 'Meet the Young Mediators Committee' - Lindsay Robinson
In allowing our members to get to know more about the Young Mediator Group Committee and what we do and want to achieve together. I wanted to "blog" about why mediation is important to me, and why I have chosen personally to become involved with the Young Mediators Group. I have been a qualified solicitor for nearly 4 years now and prior to embarking on the journey that is law school, diploma, traineeship. I had the very fortunate experience to work as a paralegal in a very respected clinical negligence firm. As a paralegal, I was dealing with catastrophic birth injury cases, cases where young children had been significantly disabled (allegedly) due to the Doctor or the Nurse's negligence. One the emerging themes of my time in this department was the length of time that it took for any "resolution" to be achieved, years and years could pass, without the child or the family receiving any form of damages to help them get on with their daily lives and assist them with living with severely debilitating conditions every day.
Why the delay? Predominantly cases of such complexity take significant time to investigate and involved voluminous medical records and multiple expert reports. The medical professionals criticised are equally and rightly allowed the opportunity to defend themselves, which involves more time, more medical records and more expert reports. I recall speaking with one family member whose son had suffered hypoxia during his birth which had left him severely brain damaged, and I recall her saying to me, "all we want is an apology".
An apology, that was it… It got me thinking, all this money, time, effort and procedure to obtain damages for this family were not going to get them what they wanted. Accountability and an apology was what they wanted, they loved their son, they had dealt with the card they had been handed in life and just wanted to move on with their lives, but they were now in a court process, which because so much time and effort had been invested, they wanted to see it to the end. But the court decision, however it was decided, was not going to get them an apology. It was from this moment that had the realisation that the court process was not the ultimate procedure to obtain justice, and that in actual fact there was another way.
The reason that I have such faith in mediation is that it allows both parties to remain in control of their resolution process and allows parties to seek a solution where they have been part of the decision making process and not simply have their dispute "decided" by an external provider who deems their decision final, depending on the credibility of the parties involved. I do not, for one second think that mediation is the easier option, and through my time on the YMG committee and the experiences other mediators and participants have shared with me, you can still be "bruised" from partaking in a mediation. But the bottom line is you remain in control and most (reasonable) people choose to avoid and resolve a conflict themselves and have a better outcome going forward in life for remaining in control of the situation.
Lindsay Robinson is a Dispute Resolution Solicitor at DWF LLP, YMG Committee Member and is currently seeking training to become an accredited mediator.