[A talk given at the recent “100 cases” event in Glasgow to celebrate two years of small claims mediation provided by Strathclyde Mediation Clinic. Judges in Scotland are known as “sheriffs”.] I’ve been rather enjoying my belated return to the small claims court. Like a kind of slow theatre, each Friday afternoon unfolds with impeccable…

In 1861, the then Secretary to the Education Department, Robert Lowe, addressed the UK House of Commons on the pressing matter of elementary education, in particular on the linked questions of access to education, funding, and quality. His proposal was to introduce a system of “payment for results”, designed both to limit the costs of…

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…

“Patients don’t expect doctors to be perfect. They do expect them to strive for perfection by opening up their work to scrutiny” Atul Gawande, Desert Island Discs, BBC Radio 4, 6/12/15. A bit of a treat for me last week, when four of my favourite academics came to Edinburgh. They were keynotes at Mediate Scotland…

Catching up on a few episodes of Game of Thrones recently, I was enjoying the string-pulling, manipulation and orchestration being engaged in by almost everyone in the fictional world of Westeros. None of the rulers really make their own decisions, all are influenced and steered by others who all have their own agendas. Some do…

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…

 Kua hinga te totara i te wao nui a Tane   I had expected that this blog would be a report on the annual conference of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ (AMINZ) held in Wellington last week. This would have been a great chance to catch up with colleagues from New Zealand and elsewhere (including this…

Amati, the Association of Mediation Assessors, Trainers and Instructors, held their second international conference in Coventry at the beginning of this month. The theme was Moving Over: Developing Conversation Training and Hybrid Models in Mediation. This relatively new organisation, aimed at those of us training and assessing mediators, has the aim of “benchmarking best practice”…

Something is in the air at the moment. And it goes to the heart of what we mediators do. On the one hand, noted mediation thinkers such as Robert Bush and Joseph Folger write an empassioned challenge to the profession “Reclaiming Mediation’s Future: Getting Over the Intoxication of Expertise, Re-Focusing on Party Self-Determination”, arguing that…