Down here in New Zealand it’s high summer and most of the country will spend until the end of January at the beach. I remember, when I was still at my law firm 10 years ago, the feeling of brief respite at this time of year before having to put on my boots again and trudge…

In the last year I have had the privilege of joining a group of mediators for their monthly CPD (continuing professional development). We are all loosely in the commercial sector, which can include workplace, family business and public sector disputes. This being Scotland (see previous posts on judicial resistance to mediation) no-one is making their…

In this posting I want to reflect on how, as a mediator, I’ve learnt much from the related but independent conflict management process, called conflict coaching. Before I get ahead of myself, however, let me start by offering an explanation of conflict coaching. Conflict coaching is a service provided by a conflict specialist to a…

On the final day of an advanced mediation skills training I took many years ago, the trainers brought in a group of improvisational actors. The idea, as you might readily guess, was to invite us to shake off our habitual responses (together with our post-lunch lethargy) and, unbound by convention, let our creative impulses off…

I come from a Western mediation tradition that argues strenuously for neutrality and impartiality in a mediator. Indeed, one of the first questions lawyers will ask when hiring me is whether or not I have any conflict of interest – in other words, do I know those involved in the dispute, have I worked with…

饮水思源 – Chinese proverb meaning “When you drink water, remember its source” Many will remember 25 August 2012 as the day Neil Armstrong passed away. Neil Armstrong was a hero and an inspiration to many. He was of course the first man to walk on the moon and his achievement was symbolic to many of…

Mediators often talk about the power of framing their own language and reframing the language of parties and others in mediation settings. For example, mediators may frame their comments in neutral, constructive and future-focused language. They may reframe party statements to detoxify offensive or destructive language or to create a shift from the negative to…

I was fortunate to have been in Belfast, Northern Ireland for the International Negotiation Competition for Law Students hosted by Queen’s University. This is a competition that is run every year where students from law schools all over the world meet to negotiate simulations where they represent clients in deal-making or dispute-resolving contexts. As part…

This time of year in Ireland (August) is referred to by many as “the silly season”. Courts, legal offices and many other public services close for holidays, children get bored having been on holidays for 6 weeks already, people flock to last minute sun holiday destinations as they realise that, yet again, it is going…