Oh, how time flies! It’s Old Years’s eve… already, and we’re on the verge of a brand-new decade. Did you fulfil all your new year’s resolution for 2019? And are you leaving behind all the baggage that’s been weighing down on you this year?
If you became embroiled in some kind of dispute this year, legal or otherwise, this is as good a time as any to reflect on whether the battle is worth pursuing and whether you should explore the possibility of compromise.
Being involved in a dispute invariably invokes some type of emotional response from you, be it anger, frustration, distress, anxiety and stress, just to name a few. More often than not, it is emotionally draining. You are left with less energy to focus on more important matters, your personal happiness, for instance.
Disputes can be like black holes – the more you let it the dispute take over your life, the more it can suck the life out of you. That’s why stepping back and logically assessing the impact of the dispute on you should be seen as a necessity.
I fully appreciate that many disputes start out based on principle. You think what happened was wrong, and the wrong doer should not be allowed to get away with it, so you are going to take a stand. Absolutely nothing is wrong with that. But once the dispute has been aired, so that each side now understands where the other is coming from, it may be time to look at solutions instead of fighting to getting the other side to agree with your position. Disputes are not only emotionally draining, it can be equally time consuming and costly.
Many disputes have something called a root cause, some issue or incident lying beneath the surface of the dispute that is the actual source of the dispute. The root cause may have absolutely nothing to do with how the dispute manifested itself. For example, Jim is threatening to sue his neighbour, John, for nuisance on the basis of him using his noisy weed-wacker the crack of dawn on Sunday mornings, ruining Jim’s ability to enjoy his day at home. But the actual reason (the root cause) Jim is upset is because John stopped inviting Jim over to his monthly All Fours card game limes.
If the root cause of the dispute can be discovered and addressed, chances are everything else will fall into place and a settlement worked out with relative ease.
If you have a lawyer representing you, he or she may be trained to assist you with discovering the root cause of the dispute and working on resolving the conflict. But there is also a category of professionals called mediators who can assist as well. (Lawyers can be mediators too, but you need to check that they are certified with the Mediation Board of Trinidad and Tobago.)
A mediator’s job is not to judge anyone. The beauty of mediators is that they must remain impartial at all times, but act as a go-between to assist with discussing the dispute, and negotiating possible forms of settlement. A register of certified mediators is available of the Mediation Board of Trinidad and Tobago’s website: http://www.mediationboard-tt.org.
Carrying a dispute into the new year may seem like a burden weighting down on your shoulders. Seeking a compromise is not waiving a white flag of surrender. It is a sign of mature decision making and responsible conduct. Can concessions can be made by both sides, so each side gets a win-win? Viewed in that light, letting it go for 2019 sounds good, right?
Whatever you chose to do, let me take this opportunity to wish all AZPNews.com readers and the world at large a very happy and prosperous New Year!
As we nibble on our black-eyed peas and ponder what awaits us in 2020, it’s my sincerest hope that humanity will see a surge in calmness, goodwill and consideration for others, which in turn manifests into a proliferation of disputes that are amicably resolved.
May you be blessed with an abundance of peace, love, joy and gratitude. Happy New Year!
© Neela Ramsundar, LL.B (HONS), L.E.C is a Civil Litigation Attorney at Law & Certified Mediator
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for general informative purposes only. It does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney – client relationship. For legal advice, please contact an Attorney-at-Law of your choosing directly.