It’s been a long time since I wrote a blog just about mediation practice. Other things always seem more important! However, as I was mediating this week, a thought occurred to me about a rather imperceptible but very real change in my practice as a mediator, which I develop here, albeit in a simplified way….

I teach an online course for lawyers to help them become more comfortable working with numbers. We spend quite a lot of time on litigation forecasting: assigning probabilities to different outcomes, combining these probabilities correctly and coming up with an overall estimated value for the claim. This is useful to frame the parameters for any…

On the first day of this year the international mediation community lost a wonderful friend and colleague. The memorial page established by his family shows just how wide and deep the affection reaches. He provided memorable experiences to so many of us. And whilst we both certainly remember (and enjoyed) his joie de vivre, the…

I was puzzled to get an email from a mediator thanking me for my recent post, which advocated using a unified conceptual framework of unbundled mediation interventions. The puzzling part was that she wrote that it helped to “validate my theory that ‘bundling’ of mediation models can be appropriate and effective in the right case…

I wrote this piece for Strathclyde Mediation Clinic after a series of conversations with new and learner mediators. Some surprised me with their passivity in the face of parties’ lack of knowledge or understanding. After some probing I learned that many new mediators recognise the problem but believe the model they were taught prohibits them…

The importance of gaze

‘Because you’re distant, forgive me for being a little bit bossy’ (Paddy O’Connell, BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House) After plying their trade for a while mediators (and broadcasters) develop a persona, not so much bolted on as inhabited. Once in ‘the chair,’ voice, posture and gestures all coalesce to support their purpose and, with minimal…

Photo credit: Christof Häuser, via Nathalie Birli We mediators are accustomed to recognising empathy as an important part of our mediation repertoire which is consistently reinforced in our training and professional development. It is front of mind for many of us as we plan for and conduct our mediations. This blog has seen its fair…

“If two people are in a room, there are actually six to consider: “What each person is; what each person thinks he or she is; and what each person thinks the other is.” So began a recent Guardian editorial on relations between Iran and the USA. This observation is attributed to the late wife of…

‘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…

“Hi, I’m Rick. I’m your mediator for today. I can’t decide what happens in this dumb dispute or how you resolve issues. My job is just to help people who are incapable of resolving conflict, like yourselves, find areas that you can agree on. That means I get to control what appears in the messages,…