Graffiti commenting on truth and its usefulness today

I started mediating in my early 30s, surely old enough to know the difference between truth and fiction. Yet after a couple of years I began to say, first to myself then to my friends, that the concept of truth was ‘no longer useful’ in my work. What did I mean and how did I…

In a few weeks’ time I will come to the end of a two-year mediation engagement in South Eastern Europe. The conflict in question relates to environmental pollution. The issues are complex and heavily contested, and there are many stakeholders – government, city authorities, environmental groups, investors and business, to name a few. It has…

The Harvard Program on Negotiation (PON) has provided a life-changing experience for many of us. It certainly changed the trajectory of my life and triggered a life-long immersion in conflict resolution theory and practice. I am immensely grateful. The program has been an evolutionary one – regularly enhanced and updated to fit the frame of…

I write this in the aftermath of yet another mediation in which the protagonists exhibited symptoms of having been seriously traumatised by the litigation process to which they had been exposed. Depression, suicidal thoughts, anger, loathing, destroyed relationships, large amounts of money spent with no discernible value. And this was a commercial situation, not a…

Sometimes I wonder what the facilitation and mediation work I do is all about. By which I mean what purpose does it perform for clients. What is it that they are asking for from me, and what is it that they actually get? Do they always really want what they are ostensibly asking for? Do…

One of the positive aspects of the enforced changes brought about by lockdown is that it enables – or compels – us to try new things. So far, I’ve learned how to create and have issued 13 podcasts, the idea being to spread ideas as widely as possible at this crucial time. After much procrastination,…

Ten weeks ago, I had barely heard of Zoom. At that time, I was fairly sceptical about online mediation in the kind of cases I do. It could never substitute for face to face meetings with their intimacy and candour. Or so I thought. I have recently undertaken a number of mediations using Zoom. It…

Recap: The Alchemy of Mediation, Part 1: actions to outcomes training exercise In this part we explored what little information, context and insight the actions of each of us provide for the other. In our example, it seems that while we were each comfortable with doing what the other did in the morning (the actions),…

The Singapore Convention on Mediation makes clear that international mediated settlement agreements (iMSAs) may be used as a sword or invoked as a shield in judicial or arbitral proceedings (defence). In the post-Singapore Convention world, lawyers are looking closely at the extent to which courts may recognise settlement agreements, especially mediated settlement agreements, as a…

Stop apologising

(This blog is adapted from a longer version published by Prof John Lande as part of Theories of Change for the Dispute Resolution Movement: Actionable Ideas to Revitalize Our Movement. The Theory of Change symposium asked mediators and scholars to think big about their dreams and visions for the future, and was recently published on…