Living in communities (neighbourhoods) with all the stresses related to modern living without doubt produces occasional conflict between neighbours. No matter how hard we may try to get a long with our neighbours, some of us will, at some point, end up having a disagreement. Most of the time, this arises out of some kind of misunderstanding or perhaps because of a rare lapse in our consideration for others. Disputes include noise, behaviour, children’s behaviour, parking, boundaries, hedges, rubbish, gardens, pets and any number of other sources.
Sometimes it can be difficult to talk to your neighbour about an issue that is bothering you, worried that things will be said that will make matters worse. If not resolved a dispute, can significantly affect the quality of your life, cause stress and often affect others living in the neighbourhood. Mediation can provide an effective way of resolving conflicts – especially when used as an early involvement before problems escalate.
Mediation is a voluntary, and “without prejudice” process which involves the parties sitting down with a mediator to discuss the issues in dispute thereby moving towards a solution. A mediator is impartial. Mediators will not make a decision or award, but act as a facilitator assisting the parties in negotiating a mutually acceptable solution.
Referrals can be made either the individuals experiencing problems or from an agency such as a Social Landlord, Local Authority, Local Housing Authority or the Police.
- Once we have received a referral, we will contact the parties’ to co-ordinate convenient dates to meet with the parties’ separately for a one to one appointment with the mediator to assess if the case is suitable for mediation and to explain the process and for you to present your view of the dispute.
- If the case is suitable and all parties wish to proceed, the mediator may see the parties together to explore options or may continue to see the parties separately in different meeting rooms on the same day at the agreed venue. The mediator will then move between the parties to explore options
- These private confidential sessions may continue until a solution has been reached.
- In certain circumstances a further mediation appointment may be helpful.
Because agreement has been reached by the parties themselves, it is usually found to be secure and lasting. The agreement can be written down if the parties wish, but it is not legally binding and cannot be used in courts.Even where total agreement is not reached the issues may have been clarified and narrowed.
For your convenience most neighbourhood mediations are held locally to your place of residence. However, on rare occasions it may assist to attend the location giving rise to the dispute.