COLIN STEWART ROBERTSON
MBA – MRICS - MCIArb
Civil, Commercial, Workplace & Community/Neighbourhood Mediator
Mediation Commissions, Advice & Support
Leeds North Yorkshire West Yorkshire North of England UK & Beyond
ONLINE MEDIATION IS BEING PRACTISED FOR ALL COMMERCIAL, WORKPLACE AND COMMUNITY COMMISSIONS – ANY LOCATION
FACE TO FACE (f2f) MEDIATIONS ARE NOW BEING PRACTISED TO A DISTANCING/VENTILATION/HYGEINE PROTOCOL AT AGREED VENUES SUBJECT TO THE GUIDELINES IN FORCE.
ALL REFERENCES TO f2f ON THIS WEBSITE ARE SUBJECT TO COMPLIANCE WITH OUR COVID-19 PROTOCOL
To set up a free/no obligation discussion of your requirements or, simply advice on how to proceed with mediation, then please contact:
Colin Robertson on : 0113-284-2859 or
Approach to Client Involvement:
· Confidentiality. Discussions between the mediator and the parties are in complete confidentiality. Confidential issues can only be revealed in a joint meeting with the permission of the party. In the case of Workplace Mediations the detail content of joint meetings is not revealed to the Referrer, only the outcome.
· Putting Parties at ease. Not all participants of mediation are used to the procedure and need to be reassured that the joint meeting will be fair, balanced, respectful and safe.
· Empathy and careful concentration on what the parties are trying to say and achieve, within a controlled environment.
· Allowing and assisting parties to express their views, in confidence, about the relevant issues to help bring closure.
· Exploring ways that the parties can find their own resolution.
· In the case of Workplace and Community/Neighbour mediations to consider ways that the parties can interact in the future, as colleagues or neighbours.
· In the case of Commercial issues the mediation may need a determined approach by the Mediator to bring the parties through a barrier if one, or more, of the parties are reluctant to fully engage to find a resolution. Colin Robertson brings his extensive negotiating experience to assist parties in exploring solutions that may not have been previously considered.
· Smaller, more emotional disputes. These require a slightly different approach/emphasis where the parties need reassurance about the meeting environment, its procedure and the ability to feel more at ease in reaching a resolution.
· A very high success rate on the day, particularly for Workplace and Community/Neighbour and the occasional overrun for particularly tough Commercial deals to the following day/s.
‘Colin introduced other elements of discussion that we would have never considered but which, ultimately, led to a very satisfactory agreement’.
‘I was impressed with his questioning during my initial interview. It showed he was really listening’.
‘It didn’t take him long to cut through all the detail to the relevant issues’.
‘Before the mediation I was convinced that it was a waste of time. But it wasn’t. He’s good. He’s very good!’
‘Colin went to great lengths to put me at ease’.
‘It was a long day but he never stopped teasing out what were the key issues and we got a deal’.
‘It was such a relief to walk out of the meeting room. We’d had problems with the other parties for years’.
With over 45 years experience in negotiation and assisting clients in dispute resolution Colin Robertson now devotes his expertise to assisting resolution, across all elements of dispute, solely through mediation. He has a particular expertise in disputes involving emotional issues from Commercial, Workplace and Partnership/Family Relationship/Business to Neighbour disputes. This has contributed to a particularly high success rate in clients achieving agreement/resolution.
Based near Leeds, he has carried out regular mediations mainly throughout, but not limited to, Northern England. However, in line with the uptake of remote mediation this has now extended to any location where time-zone compatibilities exist. .
· Civil/Commercial Mediations
· All business related issues covering any industry/organisation.
· Partnership/family financial disputes.
· Trading lease/contract disputes.
· Construction/engineering/manufacturing disputes – large or small.
· Client/Builder cost/quality problems.
§ Clients have included all types of business owners/management, Solicitors, home owners and family members.
§ All usually, a minimum of a full day.
· Workplace Mediations
· Resolving relationship problems between employees, from the workplace to the Boardroom - two or multi-party/teams.
· Resolving conflicts in employee, team, management, partnerships or director level work engagement roles.
· Resolving administration/reporting structure issues between staff.
· Also, sometimes a first alternative stage to internal procedures or tribunals.
· One to one single employee mentoring sessions to assist, for instance, with adjustment to new roles/changes, etc.
· All in complete confidence between the parties and mediator. No reporting of content back to the Referrer, only the outcome.
§ Clients have included governmental bodies and major national and regional organisations/businesses as well as small and medium family businesses.
§ Usually, a minimum of a full day.
· Community/Neighbour Mediations
· Smaller non-commercial disputes. For example, boundary issues and/or relationship problems/disputes between neighbours or groups. Usually, from a couple of hours to half a day. Online or Face to Face (f2f).
· Short non-monetary related disputes. Initial online consultations plus one/two hour meeting of parties, according to the appropriateness of the subject matter and complexity of the issue(s). Usually online but Face to Face (f2f) can be arranged on request.
· Pro Bono Mediation
· Settlement of Neighbour disputes for Housing associations/Local Authorities. Active involvement with the Yorkshire Mediation charity, based near Leeds, providing free mediation services to the parties involved. See link to Yorkshire Mediation below.
The Mediation Procedure:
· Civil/Commercial Cases
· Usually commissioned by representatives acting for the parties. In the case of f2f, one of the parties will usually supply the venue, rooms and refreshments. For Online mediation this will be carried out via Zoom. Where appropriate the parties may choose to use the facilities of representatives or their own accommodation.
· The parties will be required to sign a contract with the Mediator to take part on an agreed date, including confidentiality clauses. It is a requirement that the Mediator’s fee will be paid within a given time before the mediation day. It is usual that this is split equally between the parties.
· The parties or their representatives will each provide a Position Statement/Case Summary within a given period of time before the day to bring the Mediator up to-date with the relevant matters of the dispute. The Mediator may choose to contact each party, by telephone, before the day to get clarification and answer any questions about the programme for the day. Again, confidentiality is paramount.
· On the day of the Joint Meeting, the Mediator will open the meeting and explain the day’s programme, including emphasising that it is a voluntary procedure and its confidential nature.
· Each party or their representative will then deliver a brief opening statement, including what they would like to achieve in the day.
· Depending on each individual mediation, the Mediator may then retire each party and their representatives to their own dedicated breakout room whether online or f2f.
· The Mediator will then carry out a confidential shuttle procedure between each party to discuss the issues, possible resolutions and, with the permission of each party, propose offers or resolutions for the other party(ies) to consider.
· A lunch break will be factored into the day’s proceedings.
· Each mediation can vary in its course of discussions and usually aims to get the parties back together in the same ‘room’ to attempt a resolution by the end of the day.
· The objective of the day is to reach an agreement that is subsequently formalised into a legal contract drafted by the representatives. This is usually best resolved on the day, regardless as whether this takes longer than originally anticipated.
· Workplace Cases
· These are usually commissioned by the management or HR department of an organisation or business (the Referrer).
· The contract in these cases will be between the Referrer and the Mediator but the parties, will also be required to sign confidentiality agreements. In the case of f2f, if the Referrer cannot supply a venue and rooms then this can be organised by the Mediator and will be added to the Mediator’s fee and costs. The choice of f2f or Online is very much up to the Referrer but much will depend on whether it is part of the process that the parties need to meet again after an extended absence. It is appreciated that the effectiveness of Online procedures may defeat the object where the core element of the parties’ problems has been their inability to come together f2f and break the fear of encountering the other party, after the mediation, in the workplace. These are decisions that can be made after discussions about the Referrer’s requirements. Governmental regulations in place at the time (see above) will need to be adhered.
· The Mediator’s fees (and costs, where applicable) will generally be required to be paid by the Referrer before the day of the mediation. It is, however, understood that in some Governmental bodies this may not be possible and the contract can be adapted, to payment within 30 days, by agreement.
· On the day, the Mediator will meet the parties for the first time. They will then be extensively interviewed, individually, (between an hour and an hour and a half) to allow them to express the history, the issues, their concerns and what they would like to achieve. Everything discussed in these initial interviews remains securely confidential and therefore cannot be divulged to the other party(ies) or the Referrer. The parties are then asked to produce short opening statements for the Joint Meeting after which the Mediator reviews and assists each party to deliver their message with the optimum benefit of the process.
· The Joint Meeting between the parties usually then takes place after lunch to allow an uninterrupted period.
· After the opening statements, unlike Commercial Mediation, the Mediator commences a discussion based open the issues raised. The meeting could take two to three hours during which, if necessary, short breaks can be taken.
· The objective of the day is for the two parties to air their views, respectfully, and hopefully reach a written agreement, in their own words, drafted by the Mediator. A vital part of the f2f meeting with the other party often arises where one or more have been off work with stress, essentially avoiding contact with the other. If successful, the parties then sign the agreement along with the Mediator, as witness, and are each given a copy with a further copy retained to be forwarded to the Referrer, with the parties’ permission. In the case of Online mediation, a draft agreement is emailed to the parties for their electronic signatures.
· Community/Neighbour/Boundary Cases
· The initial stages are similar to Commercial Mediation in that the parties could be (but preferably not at the Joint Meeting) represented by Solicitors, etc, including, in the case of f2f, a venue, room(s) and refreshments (where requested), but regardless the parties are responsible for splitting/paying the Mediator’s fee/costs, in advance. The latter, if the Mediator, in the case of f2f, has to also find the venue and room(s). The parties are also responsible for signing the appointment and confidentiality agreements.
· Where applicable and subject to the agreement of all parties, one or more of the parties could be supported by a friend or relative, etc, not to take an active part in the discussions but to ensure that the party feels that they have their support/advice.
· Brief details of each party’s case are forwarded to the Mediator before the day allowing time for the Mediator, if necessary, to telephone or in special f2f circumstances by arrangement, visit each party separately to briefly discuss their case and the day’s procedure. In more complicated cases the Mediator may suggest that the Workplace format is adopted with first contact between the Mediator and parties being during initial interviews on the day.
· On the day, the procedure can, for simple cases, move straight into the Joint Meeting or confidential interviews first for more complicated cases but then in both formats proceeding with controlled discussions of the issues. This, along with the drafting of an agreement or contract, could take around two hours, depending on the complexity of the case.
· The final stage is therefore nearer to the Workplace Mediation model aiming to reach a similarly drafted agreement/contract, with copies for each party.
· Subject to the parties availability and competence with the technology then the case could be held Online by Zoom, but again Community/Neighbour disputes often contain the element of fear of meeting the other party face to face. The aim of the mediation is to break this cycle allowing the two (or more) to find a way of communicating amicably, after the mediation. Subject to current Governmental guidelines/regulations, a f2f meeting can be arranged, if required.
· The Shorter Mediation (non-monetary/neighbour disputes) is a simpler, truncated and less formal version of the Community model with initial Mediator contact with the parties only by telephone followed by a joint meeting held Online by Zoom. This is a particularly cost effective remedy for small non-monetary disputes that would previously have been uneconomic to pursue. It is strongly recommended that you make contact to obtain a fee quotation for this much improved service. Again, this may not be appropriate where a fear of meeting or speaking to the other party is part of the problem. The target for the meeting is a resolution/agreement in around an hour. It should be noted that both the Community/Neighbour and the Shorter Mediation model could be limited in their application and some issues will not be suitable for Mediation. A f2f application of the Shorter Mediation is not available. Further guidance about this can be obtained by contacting the number/e-mail address below.
· Mediation is a voluntary procedure and agreement can only be achieved if all parties participate enthusiastically, but cannot be guaranteed.
Fees and Costs:
· As can be appreciated from the differing mediation models above, including Online mediation, the fees for each model can differ considerably plus the situation of f2f mediation, as to the cost of the venue, rooms and refreshments (and catering, if requested).
· In essence, Civil/Commercial cases attract the highest fees owing to the higher preparation time, complexity and professional input required interacting with legal representatives, which can extend to several days, including the mediation day. Online mediation fees will be less than the f2f equivalent.
· Workplace case fees are lower owing to the majority of the Mediator’s time being restricted to the day of the mediation. Where the Referrer wishes the Mediator to carry out a f2f mediation then the venue, rooms and refreshments (if required) will be reflected in the costs of the mediation day. As with Civil/Commercial cases, Online mediation fees will be less than the f2f equivalent.
· Community/Neighbour case fees are intended to reflect the relative simplicity and reduced formality compared to the Civil/Commercial and Workplace models and can be a very cost effective way of resolving simple but stressful disputes, particularly as, again, the fee/costs are divided between the parties. In the case of a f2f Community/Neighbour mediation, then the venue/room costs are usually included in that particular fee. As above, Online mediation fees will be less than the f2f equivalent.
· As there isn’t a standard mediation model for any type of mediation then we suggest that the enquirer contacts the number/e-mail address above/below for a no obligation discussion.
· Online mediations will reduce some costs for a venue/rooms/travel and travel time but should be weighed against the object to be achieved, its efficacy and (where appropriate) agreement to observe the venue protocol whilst the Covid-19 issues are still in force (see above). However, the advantages of Online mediations extend to the Mediator being able to conduct (subject to time zones) long distance mediations at, potentially, considerably reduced costs and inconvenience to the parties.
To set up a free/no obligation discussion of your requirements or, simply, advice on how to proceed with mediation, then please contact:
Colin Robertson on : 0113-284-2859 or
Colin Stewart Robertson : Background/Qualifications/Accreditation;
· Originally trained and qualified as a Chartered Surveyor (now non-practicing). He achieved considerable negotiating experience in a wide range of industries ranging through manufacturing, construction/civil engineering, NHS, rail infrastructure, electrical, oil, petrochemical, process, electrical and power generation. Before setting up as a sole practitioner in the early 1980s he had trained for and attained senior positions in both major cost consultants and medium-sized contractors.
· Though based in the Leeds/North & West Yorkshire area he worked extensively throughout the U.K. as well as on assignments in the U.S.A, Holland, Italy, mainland Spain and projects based in Australia, Middle East and Russia.
· Attended Henley Business School/Brunel University as part of a Masters Degree in Business Administration programme and was awarded a MBA in 1996.
· Late 1990s, became a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and in 2009 completed the RICS Expert Witness course.
· Committee Member of the North-East Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, for several years.
· Early 2012, successfully completed the RICS Mediation Accreditation course, to become an Accredited Commercial Mediator.
· During the same period he became an Accredited Community Mediator – OCN 4 (2012) and subsequently an Accredited Workplace Mediator – OCN 4 (2013).
· Registered Panel Member of the Association of Northern Mediators.
· Registered Civil Mediation Council Panel Member (Civil, Commercial and Workplace).
· Carried out many pro bono cases since 2012 for Yorkshire Mediation in assisting those that could not normally afford mediation.
© Colin Stewart Robertson 2009 - 2021
Last updated 29 May 2021