Offers in mediation are too often approached with all the coyness of gauche teenagers at a school dance (acknowledging that this metaphor may reveal too much about my own youth!). It need not be like this. Here are some thoughts to ease the pain. Going first is not weakness. All mediations require offers to be…

Lawyer making opening statement in mediation

“The world is made, not found.” (W Barnet Pearce) I had been a mediator for about 10 years before I heard parties’ initial words described as their “opening statement.” This may surprise some readers, though probably not if they began, like me, in family mediation, nor community or workplace. Other descriptions are available, as our…

A disaster has unfolded in Ukraine and beyond in the month and a half since Russia invaded. Thousands of dead and injured, reports of horrific brutality, millions of refugees and towns and cities reduced to rubble. Russia is also suffering from economic sanctions, the loss of many of its brightest and best and a pariah…

As soon as the news of the Ukrainian invasion emerged in late February, I felt the urgent need to address in writing what had been unthinkable only days earlier but which has now changed Europe for good. At the same time, I felt a massive sense of despair and helplessness which rendered me mute. Weeks…

It was Thursday, February 24th, 2022. From the morning, I had been mediating a dispute between a grandfather and two of his granddaughters. Then, during the break, I switched on my phone and read the news. Very shocking news. As a person that has spent all his professional life bringing peace and understanding to the…

According to the Wikipedia, “Make love, not war” is an anti-war slogan commonly associated with the American counterculture of the 1960s. It was used primarily by those who were opposed to the Vietnam War, but it has been invoked in other anti-war contexts around the world since then. The part of the slogan – “make…

Mediators are well acquainted with parties blaming one another for problems.  Scapegoating in particular can get in the way of coming to terms, instead leading to an escalation of bad feelings and an increasingly toxic relationship.  However, what is less well-known is that ‘scapegoating’ can mean and imply different things, each of which calls for…

The escalating situation in Ukraine brings challenges to those of us committed to mediation and peace-making. Is there a time when what we stand for does not work and cannot be pursued? When dialogue, even in the most threatening of situations, is not appropriate? I don’t pretend to have the answers but I have been…

Effective inter-governmental relations among the constituent parts of the United Kingdom are essential in an era of increased devolution of powers, post-Brexit allocation of responsibility and contested narratives about the future of the (uncodified) UK constitution. Background One of the rather depressing aspects of the constitutional impasse in the UK is that inter-governmental relations (IGR)…

I teach an online course for lawyers to help them become more comfortable working with numbers. We spend quite a lot of time on litigation forecasting: assigning probabilities to different outcomes, combining these probabilities correctly and coming up with an overall estimated value for the claim. This is useful to frame the parameters for any…