Formality and informality

Place matters It’s good to see authors on this blog referencing academic research – see Rick Weiler’s recent post on decision-making. Similarly, a new chapter by Singapore judicial mediator Dorcas Quek Anderson (1) has got me thinking about the old chestnut of formality and informality. Anderson considers the impact on people and processes of the…

Does the currently predominant model of commercial mediation – a single session of 3 or 6 hours – support good decision-making by litigants? Some doubt is cast by recent Canadian scholarship dealing with the psychological costs of litigation. In their 2017 paper, Anticipating and Managing the Psychological Costs of Civil Litigation, authors Michaela Keet, Heather…

This is the first in a short series of how parties and advisers can best deploy the “assets” at their disposal in a mediation. Naturally, it is written from my perspective as a mediator, and so I recognise that it may look different when you are representing one side in a mediation, rather than in…

The word “manipulation” has a bad name. It is usually used to denote devious and underhand behaviour. If we say that someone is being manipulative or that someone is a manipulative person then we are usually disapproving. Mediators are manipulators, and master mediators are master manipulators. I respond here to Rick Weiler’s recent post, in…

A number of recent mediations have reaffirmed some essentials which I share here in the hope that they might be helpful to others: It’s not all about the money. Mr A had a very substantial claim against a bank running into hundreds of thousands of pounds Sterling, most of his life savings. When I asked…

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…