A recent visit to Japan coincided with the inauguration of the new Emperor Naruhito and the start of what has been designated as the ‘Reiwa’ era. This is officially translated as beautiful harmony, although other interpretations have also mentioned order and control! At the ceremony to mark his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne the new…

‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’ is thought to originate from mediaeval falconry! There are a number of variations on the theme – apparently in central Europe the saying is ‘a sparrow in the hand is worth a pigeon on the roof’! A number of cognitive biases are at play…

You are usually at a disadvantage for you will take over the boat in midst of the conflict storm without having the chance to prepare the crew and to check on the ship. Yet you are charged to navigate the vessel through all perils of misunderstandings, mistrust, and perceptions. It takes time to make sure…

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…