In one of my recent cases, the question of impartiality appeared in quite an irregular way. It happened when I entered the mediation room where both parties were seated together with their lawyers. They were drinking coffee and making small talk. To my surprise, one of the lawyers looked quite familiar. Just for a moment,…

In 1933 Alfred Korzybski wrote: “A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness.” More recently (2006), James Robertson wrote (to reference him once again, this time from ‘The Testament of Gideon Mack’): “We trust in maps because when we…

I had the privilege of running a workshop with Marcus Lim (Executive Director, Singapore International Mediation Institute) at CDRC Vienna. For those of you who are unfamiliar with CDRC Vienna, it is a law school competition which focuses on components of negotiation, mediation advocacy and mediation. It is in its third year of running, and…

I recently attended the annual American Bar Association Dispute Resolution conference in San Francisco. Several themes emerged (for me) as fairly critical for modern lawyers. Here’s a top ten. Problem-Solving and Risk Analysis is more than learning about the law or what a court might do. Most issues which clients bring to lawyers are resolved…

Public Service Warning: This blog post will contain spoilers. If you have not watched Arrival and intend to, please do not read any further. I’m a movie addict. I admit it. And I am ashamed to say that most times, my favourite genre of movies is the “check your brain in at the door shoot…

How many of us share the experience I have had – sitting on the last train home, late at night, with a day’s mediating behind me and no settlement? Perhaps even no meaningful progress towards a settlement? Occasionally, no offers even made? And as you do so, perhaps you find that your thoughts veer from:…

In this article I discuss some of the perception and cognitive biases relevant to conflict as well as the interaction between biases and conflict. I think that it is important for mediators to be aware of the parties’ biases, firstly, to understand how biases are contributing to the conflict, and secondly, to help the parties…

I have just read Ian Macduff’s recent Kluwer blog (26 November: “Upheaval and resilience: a note from the Shaky Isles”). What a privilege it is, in this blog, to follow Ian’s erudite writing. He captures so well the spirit of the age, with all its uncertainty, tragedy, hope and opportunity. On that theme, my wife…