Pollyanna/pɒlɪˈanə/ noun/an excessively cheerful or optimistic person. “what I am saying makes me sound like some ageing Pollyanna who just wants to pretend that all is sweetness and light” Every mediator has been called a Pollyanna at some time or other, usually when encouraging those in conflict that resolution is just around the corner – and often in that…

(This post is being republished because of technical problems when it was first published.) One of the key debates among mediators centres on the word ‘evaluation’. I’ve written about this before – see Has the evaluative label outlived its usefulness? I’m sure many readers are familiar, even bored, with the claimed polarity between facilitative and…

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…

Mediation existed in the Middle East hundreds of years ago. In fact, the notion of deferring to a neutral and objective third-party for a decision towards the resolution of a dispute is well steeped in Arabic/Islamic traditions. For example, one of the most famous stories of Prophet Muhammad’s early life is that of him being…

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…

“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…

This question emerges from a recent three-way Skype conversation with a couple of mediation colleagues, in anticipation of a US-sponsored conference on ADR, to be held in Brazil later this year. As it transpired, the predominant interest of the conference was and is on arbitration rather than mediation, so that conversation has taken a longer…

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…

The recent blog entry by Matthew Rushton (23 August) is a reminder of what changes can and do happen across the diverse landscape of mediation, and of the ways in which the “classical” model of mediation is probably as much a fond memory as it is a consistent practice. In both practice and training, we’ve…

This year in the UK we are celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, or “Great Charter”. Signed in 1215, it remains one of the most famous documents in the world, and central to the British constitution. In mediator parlance, it is a “settlement agreement”. It came into being as a compromise between King…