When you study languages, or gain fluency in more than one, at some point you realise that each language has its own terms that are not translatable. It is about the way language thinks for us, and in different languages or cultures this varies. Take the English word “sophisticated.” I am bilingual in English and…

The International Association of Mediators conference in Edinburgh last month provided a great opportunity to reflect on the lessons learned from the application of a principled negotiation approach, as set out in ‘Getting to Yes’. The conference benefited from the experience of over a hundred leading mediators from around twenty countries, along with policy makers…

I write this in the aftermath of the really uplifting and wonderfully diverse conference which I had the privilege to host and chair recently in my home city, under the auspices of the International Academy of Mediators. Nearly 120 mediators from over 20 countries attended and shared deep discussions about how we as mediators can…

Life as a ‘pracademic’ is a wonderful experience. I have the pleasure of teaching intensive programs in ADR at postgraduate and undergraduate level and in between I work in my own practice as a mediator, facilitator and coach. A great life! My teaching life includes the privilege of training my university’s team for the ICC…

John Sturrock’s May 1st  thought-provoking blog post on mediator “fairness” styled itself a “provocation” and invited comment and response. Here’s mine. John, thank you for your thought-provoking blog post. My perspective is that of a Canadian commercial mediator with nearly 30 years experience and about 4,000 cases mediated, virtually all involving represented individual claimants and represented…

We finished module 2 of our flagship training course last week. One of our participants emailed me the next day: “I was driving up the road yesterday and mulling over one aspect of the mediation exercise we did. I get that we are facilitating adults to make fully informed autonomous decisions and that they need…

A model dispute resolution clause that can often be found in domestic commercial contracts reads “(1) The parties have agreed that all disagreements regarding this agreement be settled amicably by their representatives.; (2) If it is not possible to resolve disputes amicably, the parties will address the competent courts of law.”. The language of the…

One way of describing mediation is as a process that seeks to convert what is apparently a zero or negative sum game into a positive-sum game. This is to use the language of game theory, which analyses strategies that rational players take to secure the best outcomes in interactive, interdependent ‘games’; where the outcome for…

Troubling trends observed as an Ontario commercial mediator compel me to once again take up my chiclet-keyed sabre. That the following are indeed trends in commercial mediation in Ontario is unsupported by any reliable data – because no one keeps track. No one records. It’s all anecdotal. Still, I’m now closing in on 30 years…

As mediators, we spend much of our time contrasting mediation with, and distancing ourselves from, litigation. Before your eyes glaze over, that is not for this post. Instead, this post draws out one of the many similarities between mediation and litigation, especially when mediating a litigated case. Mediation has, some would say unfortunately, become a more…