Formality and informality

Place matters It’s good to see authors on this blog referencing academic research – see Rick Weiler’s recent post on decision-making. Similarly, a new chapter by Singapore judicial mediator Dorcas Quek Anderson (1) has got me thinking about the old chestnut of formality and informality. Anderson considers the impact on people and processes of the…

good mediation seen through a client's lens

“Like poets, but with less time” The Deep End Getting to grips with mediation can leave students and trainees overwhelmed. That favourite training tool, the roleplay, throws most in at the deep end. The sudden immersion forces them to speak, listen and observe while trying to remember models and skills plus a sea of reading…

Time Limited Mediation

“It is pointless to do with more what can be done with fewer.” William of Ockham A colleague recently asked me to present a workshop to employment mediators on ‘Time Limited Mediation.’ Until that moment, like Molière’s bourgeois gentleman realising he’s been speaking prose all his life, it hadn’t occurred to me that this was…

Brexit negotiated!

In this blog I discuss the rise of ODR (online dispute resolution). I review recent developments including a live, online Brexit negotiation, which point to a mainstream future. I conclude that ODR will become an integral part of the justice system. When Frank Sander coined the term ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution’ his relatively modest proposal placed…

(This post is being republished because of technical problems when it was first published.) One of the key debates among mediators centres on the word ‘evaluation’. I’ve written about this before – see Has the evaluative label outlived its usefulness? I’m sure many readers are familiar, even bored, with the claimed polarity between facilitative and…

Try this thought experiment: imagine a mediator without empathy. How and what would they do? Would there be drawbacks? Benefits? The response to these questions probably depends on our own experience of empathy. This simple yet often misunderstood term masks a complex and fascinating set of ideas about human connection. Because we believe empathy is…

Negotiation teachers often scratch their heads looking for scenarios to engage students – something realistic, complex and with high enough stakes to motivate participants. Recently it came to me that we in the UK are sitting on a negotiation goldmine. The Brexit negotiations are certainly real, arguably the most complex we’ve ever undertaken and have…

This post riffs on Elvis Costello’s “What’s So Funny Bout Peace, Love and Understanding?” to probe the usefulness of the words “trust” and “respect” in mediation. Invitation Mediators the world over are taught to invite their clients to speak. We’re not there to tell people what to do; rather to ask them what they want…

(This is a ‘letter to self’ about court ADR research sent from the American Bar Association Dispute Resolution Conference, San Francisco, April 2017.) Do Litigants Know Their Options? It’s always fascinating to come to a country where mediation is business as usual. There are some downsides to this, but the upside that immediately strikes a…

Have you ever wondered who mediators are helping? The parties, obviously! Well, not so obvious to our critics. In this blog I consider worries about mediation’s approach to manifest injustice before making the case for understanding the mediator as co-creator, with the parties, of outcomes. I argue that co-creation enhances the prospects for justice. Stories…