When someone asks me to explain what mediation is, I often find it easier to tell them what it is not. Sometimes I will start by asking them if they are familiar with litigation or arbitration, and use those modes of dispute resolution as a point of comparison. I often see workshops and seminars introduce…

In 2006 Frank Sander produced his ‘Mediation Receptivity Index'(22 Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, 599-618). The MRI would be a way of discerning the extent of ‘mainstreaming’ or ‘institutionalization’ of mediation in different US states. It doesn’t seem to have caught on, but among the questions Sander lists are: PROVIDERS – number of professional…

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am exercised by the question of justice in mediation. I test the concept on people I meet; responses range from “that’s an interesting idea” to “it has nothing whatever to do with it”. At a conference earlier this year a senior lawyer claimed he could count…

We have just reached the end of the annual marking season (grading for North Americans). The verbal joust of examinations is almost over. Students get their blows in first; teachers’ strike back with marks and comments. It’s a familiar ritual with its own rhythm and reasoning. It can be viewed as arduous by both sides…

It’s not always easy to spot trends. But one that I have noticed over the last year or two is an increase in the number of cases I am being asked to mediate in which litigation or arbitration proceedings have not yet been issued. This produces different challenges. On the upside: • The parties have…

‘Justice’, an “all-party law reform and human rights organisation working to strengthen the justice system” launched a new report on April 23rd entitled ‘DELIVERING JUSTICE IN AN AGE OF AUSTERITY’. The report could be described as a plan to deliver justice despite the cuts. It proposes a transformation of the court system in England and…

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. The judiciary in the Big Apple took an important step for promotion of mediation. On July 28, the Commercial Division in New York County Supreme Court introduced a pilot mandatory mediation program. In 1993 New York pioneered in creating a specialized commercial court to handle complex business…

Intellectual life is beset by ‘gap’ problems. Philosophers wrestle with the ‘mind-body problem’: the gap between material and non-material aspects of human existence. All science can be construed as an attempt to bridge the gap between what is and what we can imagine: an inductive corrective to deductive supposition. Roger Cotterrell describes law’s gap problem…