I come from a Western mediation tradition that argues strenuously for neutrality and impartiality in a mediator. Indeed, one of the first questions lawyers will ask when hiring me is whether or not I have any conflict of interest – in other words, do I know those involved in the dispute, have I worked with…

To paraphrase Jane Austen, it is a truth universally acknowledged that mediation is confidential. Go on any training course, listen to any mediator’s opening speech, and the secrecy/privacy of the process will be affirmed and reaffirmed. In the commercial mediation arena, and these days most other practice areas, you will also sign a contractual undertaking…

Professions (and hence professionals) are both blessed and cursed with high expectations. The upside is clear: the public expects high standards, expertise and care, and in return is prepared to pay handsomely. The downside typically involves disciplinary sanctions against those not measuring up to those standards, although issues of probity rather than competence tend to…

Two stories in the Canadian media caught my eye this past month. New Rules for Bank Mediators – The Federal Minister of Finance has indicated that the Canadian federal government will not require banks to mediate their disputes with customers through mediation services offered by the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI). OSBI is…

There is much discussion in Ireland at the moment on a proposed new piece of legislation on Mental Capacity. A 740-page Report on submissions to the relevant legislative committee was published yesterday , and though I have yet to even get through the introduction, I find myself wondering whether it might prove to be of…

In mediation, the art of the mediator is to lead the mediation participants to the best possible solution of their conflict, based on their underlying interests. It is the art of seduction to shift the focus from their points of view and desired outcomes to interests, and also from the escalation-driven wish to “win” and…

As I sat down at my desk the other day to think about what to blog about this month, e- mails and text messages suddenly started pinging into my inbox giving me the rather exciting news that the Minister for Justice had just published the draft Mediation Bill, promised in the Programme for Government set…

The mediators are complex personalities. The mediators are part of the world-wide intellectual elite by promoting the purpose, the importance and the usefulness of the collaborative thinking in the pursuit of a vision founded on the quality of life. The mediators are helping people with cleaning the “dust of ignorance” off the human diamante, rediscovering…

Quality standards for the mediator? What conditions are needed for the successful outcome of a mediation? Without parties’ commitment to really resolve the conflict and settle the case, no success is possible. So commitment of the parties is a sine qua non. Still, we must also look at the mediator, who may be essential for…

Like many of us I am constantly torn between simplicity and complexity. The world is complex: that’s a given. But a beautiful morning or a lover’s kiss is simplicity itself, and it’s a fool who overcomplicates it. And so with mediation, the profession/activity/vocation that has grown on me like a skin these last nineteen years….