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…

Forced into quarantine due to COVID-19, thousands of miles away from home; I have struggled with silence, but eventually made peace with it, thanks to my Jesuit upbringing. Over a decade ago, as a Jesuit novice, I ventured on a reflective journey called the ‘Spiritual Exercises’ – a month-long retreat that is the hallmark of…

It is trite that developing trust with parties and as between the parties is a vital part of the mediation process and what makes it work. This is of course easier said than done. I have previously written on trust in “Trusting Thoughts” (12 August 2012) and “More Reflections on Trust” (14 August 2015). I…

Mediation has taken me to many places – professionally, physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually. Last week I was so fortunate to be doing six days of training in Tbilisi, Georgia, at New Vision University. Three days with students learning the skills of mediation and three days with young professionals reflecting on appropriate communication and challenging conversations…

Music and art make continuing and surprising contributions to Dispute Resolution. Greg Bond’s June Blog, written as a means of keeping his promise to write about the Beatles, shared lyrics that gave conflict a new voice. Synchronicity has been at work and suddenly the Beatles lyrics are getting a lot of exposure in the conflict…

On first of January 2019, Jair Bolsonaro became Brazil’s 38th President. After years of economic, political and even a social crisis in Brazil, the right wing politician has the mission of unifying the country after the most polarized elections in our history. Similarly to what is happening in other parts of the world, the new…

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…

Pollyanna/pɒlɪˈanə/ noun/an excessively cheerful or optimistic person. “what I am saying makes me sound like some ageing Pollyanna who just wants to pretend that all is sweetness and light” Every mediator has been called a Pollyanna at some time or other, usually when encouraging those in conflict that resolution is just around the corner – and often in that…

In one of my recent cases, the question of impartiality appeared in quite an irregular way. It happened when I entered the mediation room where both parties were seated together with their lawyers. They were drinking coffee and making small talk. To my surprise, one of the lawyers looked quite familiar. Just for a moment,…

Bloomberg (not my usual reading fodder, I confess) carried an interesting piece a couple of months ago, entitled “Meet the Real Force Behind the Brexit Talks”. Yes, it was about Brexit (yawn) but it was about an unseen side of the negotiations. Opening with the line “In every negotiation the most important work is done…