Last week I was reading an essay by the American novelist Jonathan Franzen, and was struck by the following thought: “The essay’s roots are in literature, and literature at its best […] invites you to ask whether you might be somewhat wrong, maybe even entirely wrong, and to imagine why someone else might hate you.”…

Recently, as I sat in a mediation room awaiting the arrival of lawyers and clients I did something I have often done for more than 20 years. I performed an ancient divination ritual. I cast the I Ching. The I Ching is an ancient Chinese oracle dating back about 3,000 years. It has provided insight…

I was again privileged to be at the ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition in early February, which this time included a new event – an intergenerational round table, workshops for student and professional participants together. It began with an hour of dialogue around one table, where participants were asked to generate and discuss questions for…

Early in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1891 short story A Scandal in Bohemia, Sherlock Holmes gives Watson a lecture on the difference between seeing and observing. To test how well Watson understood, Holmes hands him an unaddressed, undated, anonymous letter that had just arrived on the doormat. It announced that an unnamed visitor would shortly…

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…

“As they sometimes say around Kyoto, ‘Don’t just do something. Sit there.’” The Art of Stillness, Pico Iyer Recently I had the good fortune of watching fellow blogger, John Sturrock QC, mediate. In the days which have followed, I’ve been reflecting on what I learnt from observing the mediation. What helped the parties in this…

My last blog reflected on an excellent mediation conference in Frankfurt on the Oder where the strength which comes from working together was clear. I started this present blog on the day that the EU agreed the terms of the UK’s departure from the organisation that has been such a significant part of Europe’s post-second…

Over recent years I have been fortunate to be able to travel widely for work, and everywhere I go I find time to visit places of worship and sit quietly or attend services – in mosques, churches, synagogues and temples. I listen, either to the silence, to my thoughts, or to the ritual. Recently I…

Picture: Derek Gavey / Creative Commons A man walks into a bar …… I have to work quickly now because I can visualise readers reaching for the delete button. That’s because my six words have quickly taken you to an already constructed narrative. Before hitting delete there was probably a sigh; an eye roll and…