Although infrequent, court cases against mediators are illuminating, helping us avoid being dragged into court ourselves. Here’s an example In Tapoohi v Lewenberg & Ors (No 2) [2003] VSC 410, the Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia, considered it arguable that a mediator owes a duty of care to the disputants. The mediated dispute This was…

(Written with Advocate Karleen De Mello, Goa, India) I was recently witness to a mediation session during which two seasoned negotiators behaved disappointingly. Why? On the other side was a negotiator, who walked in with a cane, accompanied by her lawyer. From the outset, these two experienced negotiators behaved very awkwardly at the table, with one…

Time Limited Mediation

“It is pointless to do with more what can be done with fewer.” William of Ockham A colleague recently asked me to present a workshop to employment mediators on ‘Time Limited Mediation.’ Until that moment, like Molière’s bourgeois gentleman realising he’s been speaking prose all his life, it hadn’t occurred to me that this was…

The Dilemma: At an initial private meeting with a lawyer and his lay client in a mediation, it became obvious to the mediator that he had previously mediated in a matter which was related to the present dispute, the outcome of which was not known to the present parties. In the mediator’s view, it had…

In October, we reported on a recent case from the Singapore High Court: Chan Gek Yong v Violet Netto. In that post, we examined the High Court’s attitude towards parties who have had a change of heart after agreeing to conclude a Mediated Settlement Agreement (‘MSA’) and wish to challenge its validity. Last month we…

You’re mediating an insurance matter. The angry and cynical male plaintiff wails, “They’re insulting me with this offer! But, what else should I expect from a f*****g insurance company!?” The “seen it all before” plaintiff’s lawyer wearily closes her laptop. “That’s it!”, she says. “We’re outta here unless you go back and get us a…

“I hold to the idea that civility, understood as the willingness to engage in public discourse, is the first virtue of citizens.” Mark Kingwell, The World We Want: Restoring Citizenship in a Fractured Age, [Rowman & Littlefield, 2000] A recent email from a US-based group that specialises in facilitating public dialogues in difficult cases noted…

Mediation can be seen as a tool that facilitates better decision-making, particularly in disputes, but not only. The simple tools are focusing on interests, looking for common ground and mutual understanding, creating options that might satisfy many interests, and then weighing up those options to reach a decision. These tools are very simple in theory,…

Bloomberg (not my usual reading fodder, I confess) carried an interesting piece a couple of months ago, entitled “Meet the Real Force Behind the Brexit Talks”. Yes, it was about Brexit (yawn) but it was about an unseen side of the negotiations. Opening with the line “In every negotiation the most important work is done…