How mediation can help in neighbour disputes

Disputes with neighbours provoke anxiety and stress. Living next to people who are uncooperative or obstructive feels uncomfortable and distressing; home is no longer a comfortable place to return to. Arguments can arise from many sources – the height of a hedge, a tree blocking your view, a disputed boundary, neighbours parking across your drive and so on. In addition, noisy neighbours are the neighbours from hell. An experienced mediator can help you to resolve these troublesome issues and many more, to support you both in achieving a calmer relationship. Here are some reasons why mediation in neighbour disputes can be so useful:

  • Mediation is a confidential process.
  • Mediators have experienced a wide range of situations.
  • Mediators are not put off by strong emotions. They work with them.
  • Mediators are highly trained in resolving all manner of conflict.
  • Mediation is not adversarial, it’s not a ‘win – lose’ process
  • Mediators work to help parties to reach an agreement through dialogue that they can both live with.
  • Mediators assist the parties to achieve a ‘good enough’ solution if possible, enabling them to walk away from the dispute.
  • Mediation is a ‘without prejudice’ undertaking – facts revealed in mediation cannot be used in any subsequent court action.

How a neighbourhood mediation is arranged:

  • The mediator will speak to both parties in private in advance of the mediation to look at what each wants to achieve and will explain about the process and about the mediation agreement.
  • The mediator usually asks each party to prepare a very short position statement (perhaps 2-3 pages) about how they see things and what they would like to achieve.
  • Parties in mediation can bring anyone along for support. Some people bring a friend or a relative.
  • Parties in mediation are welcome to come along with their solicitor or legal representative if they choose.
  • Parties in mediation can sit together in one room or, if they prefer, can sit separately in two rooms.
  • If the parties reach agreement, the mediator (with the parties’ help), or their legal representatives will write up, with them, a Memorandum of Understanding for each to sign up to, or to take advice on before signing. This is then legally binding.
  • Mediation can heal rifts and establish new beginnings.