One of the things that has been exercising me for some time is the question of what constitutes success in commercial mediation. I ask the question because the experience of the London office of my international law firm – which has attempted to gather data on mediations in which we have participated for nearly 15…

Some times I meet friends or acquaintances whom I had not seen in a long while and when we reach the question What have you been doing lately? I also tell them about mediation. Since they aren’t familiar with this concept, each time, their reactions are very expressive. Mediation for what issue? or Mediation as…

One of the privileges and perils of working as a mediator in Scotland is that we get a close-up view of developments in England and Wales. In an ideal world this should allow us (pop. 5 million) to learn from them (pop. 55 million): to pick the best innovations and avoid the failures. As I…

The importance of the multidisciplinary approach and the leading role of the parts. Modernity brought about the fragmentation of knowledge and the emergence of different disciplines as well as diversified specializations in several subject areas. This fragmentation enabled people to deepen their knowledge concerning specific issues and made them feel that they could master their…

Scotland sits on the north-west fringe of Europe, and is probably best known for whisky, rain and heroic failure on football and rugby pitches. While part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, many people don’t realise it has its own legal system. And why should they? Even English publications often talk…

They say that you can take the girl out of Australia but that you can’t take Australia out of the girl. So as an Australian living in Hong Kong, let me leave the east-meets-west stories for another time and begin with the very Australian concept of BYO. It’s a long established tradition in Australia to…

The other day my friend and fellow mediator, Jill Howieson, was showing me pictures of gaps in buildings. Now, these are neither accidental gaps nor defects in buildings. Rather these gaps are very deliberate; they form an essential element of construction design. They are the famous architectural gaps of architect Carlo Scarpa. Scarpa was well-known…

Patent wars are a perennial hot topic with not only IP experts being familiar with stories of well-known patent disputes. A classic example is perhaps the story of the Wright brothers, who received a patent for their method of flight control in 1906 and fiercely defended it for years afterward, by suing other aviators and…

Most mediators are pragmatists. This may not be our reputation, but in reality we wrestle daily with practical matters such as who will do what, when they will do it and how much it will cost. I once taught mediation to a group of therapists. Their ‘soft’ skills (this doesn’t mean easy) were fantastic, actively…