Sometimes we have to ask probing questions. Does mediation do any good? Does it make the world a better place? Is there more or less peace in our societies because of our work? This sort of research question exercises scholars and academics, but practitioners too want to believe their work makes a difference. A related…

I have just read Ian Macduff’s recent Kluwer blog (26 November: “Upheaval and resilience: a note from the Shaky Isles”). What a privilege it is, in this blog, to follow Ian’s erudite writing. He captures so well the spirit of the age, with all its uncertainty, tragedy, hope and opportunity. On that theme, my wife…

This blog synthesises some remarks I have made recently to policy-makers in Scotland. As I reflect on things, there are a lot of issues in the civil justice system in my country which remain of interest and concern. Not least, the number of ordinary folk caught up in the court system, paying a lot of…

A few months ago I painted a not-terribly-flattering picture of Scottish justice as experienced by small claimants – (Oiling the Wheels of the Justice System). Seen through the eyes of a mediator (and ex-lawyer) the language, practices and architecture seem calculated to confuse those most in need of assistance and clarity like unrepresented parties and…

The Olympics have come and gone with all of the emotion and inspiration they bring. In our recent, fully-subscribed, residential Summer School on mediation skills for leaders, we reflected on the learning from Rio. We watched a video replay of the men’s taekwondo -80kg final in which Team GB’s Lutalo Muhammad lost to his Ivory…

This blog is a further reflection on the implications of Brexit, viewed from a Scottish perspective. There are at least four possible outcomes for Scotland’s constitutional future. One, Scotland as wholly independent, neither in the UK nor in the EU. Two, as an independent nation within the EU. Three, as a constituent part of a…

When I was shopping at the Marina Bay Sands Mall in Singapore some couple months ago, a young Singaporean approached me and politely asked me to participate in a survey. “Where are you from?” the girl stated her first question. “From Prague, Czech Republic…” She smiled and her view gave away her confusion. Obviously, she…

“Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar” “Traveller, there is no path, the path must be forged as you walk.” Antonio Machado, as quoted and translated in Daring Greatly, Brene Brown Those were two very long and eventful days. Though the prospect of reaching an agreement appeared remote – at best – at…

[A talk given at the recent “100 cases” event in Glasgow to celebrate two years of small claims mediation provided by Strathclyde Mediation Clinic. Judges in Scotland are known as “sheriffs”.] I’ve been rather enjoying my belated return to the small claims court. Like a kind of slow theatre, each Friday afternoon unfolds with impeccable…

Three recent mediations in three jurisdictions raised some interesting issues.  Each mediation was different. One involved a claim for professional negligence against a firm of solicitors for (allegedly) incorrectly including an occupied building in the sale of a large piece of land. The sellers were unhappy that many years had elapsed since the transaction, a number of them passing while…