I have never been a great fan of mediator’s proposals. I took the view that the mediator’s job, done well, was to help the parties to come to a solution themselves. Party autonomy and all that. Achieving a satisfactory outcome, I thought, shouldn’t require a specific suggestion by the mediator. I have changed my view….

It was just a few moments. “You can’t play on our course without proper golf shoes.” “But we played here two days ago in these shoes.” “My colleague must have made a mistake”. “But it was you who let us play…”. “It’s in our rules.” “Where?” “Here.” “No it’s not. There is nothing about soft…

Regular readers of this blog may recall my 10 tips for participants who took part in the recent ICC Commercial Mediation Competition held in Paris – a wonderful time was had by all but that’s for another post. One of those tips was about keeping it real and suggesting a ‘steel fist inside a velvet glove’…

Like many of us, I listened with rapt attention to the reporting from Geneva of the Syrian peace talks last week. So much is at stake. And so much of it feels very familiar to me as a mediator. One particularly interesting item was a radio interview last Saturday with a Syrian media officer who…

This is where I did my best work in Christmas week – in the twilight zone between the joint session room to the right of the water cooler and the private caucus room off to the left by the green bins. Corridors can be furtive and risky spaces on mediation days – ‘don’t ask me…

This note is a response to, and affirmation of the idea behind Bill Marsh’s provocative notion that the best mediators and negotiators smoke. Of course, in these non-smoking times, we couldn’t possibly agree with the apparent endorsement of smoking and yet the underlying idea Bill conveys is an important one – about the structure of…

Here is a confession. I have a theory (in the best traditions of Monty Python). It is totally untested. I am pretty certain that it would not survive rigorous, double-blind trials. It may, however, contain some seeds of insight. My theory – wait for it – is that mediations where one or more of the…

My basic nature is to be optimistic about the future. If I were one of the six thinking hats described by author Edward DeBono, I would be the yellow hat. The yellow hat is for optimism and the logical, positive view of things. The yellow hat looks for how something can be done and requires…