Ten weeks ago, I had barely heard of Zoom. At that time, I was fairly sceptical about online mediation in the kind of cases I do. It could never substitute for face to face meetings with their intimacy and candour. Or so I thought. I have recently undertaken a number of mediations using Zoom. It…

What is the SIMC COVID-19 Protocol? The Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC) has just launched the SIMC COVID-19 Protocol to provide businesses with an expedited, economical and effective route to resolve any international commercial disputes during the COVID-19 pandemic period. SIMC’s Covid-19 protocol is a great example of a leading mediation service provider reaching out…

Mediation can be an intense experience for parties and their advisers. Often there is a lot on the line. In the substance there may be money, control, reputation, pride. In the process, there are challenges such as influencing other parties, getting the best deal possible, making well-informed judgment calls about risk, developing effective offers, and…

Photo credit: Creative Commons Jean M.Mas 2/2007 Although my mediation training made no mention of it, 32 years of mediating have taught me that mediations generally unfold over two stages: Stage 1: “Who Did What to Whom”? Here parties (or their lawyers) follow the ritual of naming, blaming and claiming – recounting facts, providing evidence…

Being a mediator brings surprises along the way. For me, I was presented with what turned out to be the biggest challenge of my professional career last November when the Cabinet Secretary for Health in Scotland appointed me to conduct a review of allegations made by staff (through whistle-blowers) of bullying and harassment in Scotland’s…

good mediation seen through a client's lens

“Like poets, but with less time” The Deep End Getting to grips with mediation can leave students and trainees overwhelmed. That favourite training tool, the roleplay, throws most in at the deep end. The sudden immersion forces them to speak, listen and observe while trying to remember models and skills plus a sea of reading…

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…