Like all businesses, mediation ultimately depends upon (and needs to reflect) what the users want from it. That doesn’t of course mean that theirs in the only relevant perspective – mediators also have views on what the process can and should offer. But at the very least it’s a vital part of the equation (I…

Greg Bond’s recent post on mediation cultures reminded me of an encounter I had with a group of mediators several years ago. Allow me to share with you my recollection of what happened. I was conducting a workshop on international and intercultural approaches to mediation for 15 freshly-minted mediators from a European country — all…

Last week I spent some time with a European mediation organisation looking to review its mediator accreditation and practice standards. Somehow I expected a discussion about various accreditation initiatives around the world with perhaps some exploration of “mediation models” and how they fit into national regulatory frameworks. I was pleasantly surprised. What ensued was a…

My wife and I recently spent a very convivial evening at the beautiful home in Sydney of leading Australian mediator Alan Limbury and his wife, Dr. Rosemary Howell, who coaches a team from the University of New South Wales in the annual ICC mediation competition. One topic which stimulated some forthright conversation was the use…

This post is unlikely to win me friends on America’s West Coast and it may even see my US mediation teaching visa withdrawn, however when the issue even has its own Facebook group called Save the Mediation Joint Session and Promote Party Participation with over 50 of the world’s top mediators signed up, then the patient is more critical than I thought. The rise…

I have never been a great fan of mediator’s proposals. I took the view that the mediator’s job, done well, was to help the parties to come to a solution themselves. Party autonomy and all that. Achieving a satisfactory outcome, I thought, shouldn’t require a specific suggestion by the mediator. I have changed my view….

At the risk of being accused of being too much of a purist, I just have to have a little grumble about the latest misappropriation of the term mediation. All involved in promoting and encouraging the use of mediation know how one of the largest barriers to people availing of this process is the lack…

Mediators deal in words – not exclusively, but a great deal (and perhaps sometimes too much, but that’s another blog). So it pays for us to think carefully about what words really mean. A couple of years ago, I came across an article entitled “US facilitation yes, mediation no: Omar”. It detailed how Pakistan, through…

Recently I have noticed mediators using a label to describe other people’s practice. It is rarely a compliment. That label is “evaluative”; as in “she takes rather an evaluative approach” or “his background as a lawyer leads him to be evaluative.” More subtly, “We are firmly committed to the facilitative model” (and, by implication, not…

Faithful readers will recall my posts here and here mentioning the failed mediation relating to the international effort to reach an agreement on the distribution of some $9 Billion in assets remaining from the Nortel insolvency. The Ontario Courts are now struggling with the fallout from that failed mediation. This week saw the release of…