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More Questions for Mediators

This week, I have had the genuine privilege of contributing one of the key note addresses at the Annual Conference of the Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand (AMINZ) in Wellington. It has been a terrific conference, superbly organized by the indefatigable Deborah Hart. The standard of the many and diverse sessions has been very high, indeed outstandingly so. There is some terrific work being done in New Zealand.

In the context of the conference theme of New Horizons, I posed a number of questions in my key note address. I hope to pull together the whole piece for publication, but here are the questions.

• What if the way in which we have sought to resolve difficult dispute [...]

Multiculturalism in Practice

 Kua hinga te totara i te wao nui a Tane
I had expected that this blog would be a report on the annual conference of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ (AMINZ) held in Wellington last week. This would have been a great chance to catch up with colleagues from New Zealand and elsewhere (including this Kluwer blog’s own John Sturrock, who was a bit of a star turn on the schedule). However, the best laid plans of mice and men etc. As we (my wife, Suzanne, and I) were driving to Wellington we received a not-unexpected phone call to tell us of the passing of a dear member of the extended family. As Suzanne had been asked by the man himself to conduct his funeral, wearing her celebrant’s h [...]

Hermes and Apollo Dispute: When the Gods Arbitrate and Negotiate…


With the summer going on, many mediation practitioners are enjoying well deserved holidays. Yet for some of them, even this period of year is time for some pondering over dispute resolution. Should you be one of them, you may find the story of two half-brothers in ancient Greece as an interesting hint. This is the same narrative I mentioned during my presentation at the First Symposium on Mediation, Arbitration and Shanghai Free Trade Zone Dispute Resolution that took place on 13th of July 2015 in Shanghai. The topic was interface between mediation and arbitration, thus the moral of the story was very fitting and hopefully, it provided the audience with some thoughts-provoking ideas and sug [...]

A Perspective On Mediation In The Middle East

I am a young Lebanese graduate in mediation and currently training to practice in Paris. I frequently get asked the following questions: What is the mediation situation in the Middle East? Is it because your country is a non-mediation country that you are training in Europe? What is the mediation situation in the Middle East? What are the Middle Eastern jurisdictions’ approaches to mediation? Are all Middle Eastern countries non-mediation countries? What are the advantages of mediation in these countries?

When I reflect on these questions, I ask myself: what is a “non-mediation country”? What makes a country a “mediation country”?

While browsing this blog, I came across an article e [...]

The Virtual Training Room – Can Mediation be Taught Online?

I have to say a huge thank you to my colleague and fellow Mediators’ Institute of Ireland Council Member Margaret Considine who delivered the paper on which this post is based for me last week at the World Mediation Summit in Madrid which I was unable to attend. Despite unbearable heat, an airport fire and a non-existent hotel booking Margaret stepped into the breach. Thank you!


Online learning, also termed “e-learning” or “using educational technology”, is a manifestation of distance learning, which has existed for a number of decades. Modern e-learning can mean everything from uploading materials onto an e learning website, to all learning activities being conducted via online p [...]

On Civility: Mediation and Ethics Part 2

“The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that’s the essence of inhumanity.” The Devil’s Disciple, Act II (1901). G B Shaw

I ended my previous blog post [] by saying that there were a couple of aspects of ethics and mediation – beyond the conventional issues of “mediation ethics” – that I wanted to return to. My general point in that blog was to suggest that there are considerable insights to be gained, for the practice of mediation, in reading ethics – insights into justice, morality, decision making, ethical pluralism (rather than relativism) and so on.

What a br [...]

Art Deco Thoughts of ICC Mediation

The National Committee of International Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic has launched the Working group that shall support the use of mediation in the Central European region. Will it succeed?

Promoting Mediation at Art Deco Café
Once deciding to promote mediation, one cannot stand still. Despite the fact it is not obvious at the first sight, there are plenty of opportunities how to do it. kavarna_slavia2
One of them occurred when I met with Karel Machotka, the Executive Director of the National Committee of International Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic and with Milos Olik, a partner at ROWAN LEGAL Law firm who is known for his expertise in alternative dispute resolution. We spent toge [...]

Lawyers of the future on mediation: threat or a promise?

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 but markers get a certain satisfaction from novel insights and perspectives; and a salutary reminder of what people actually remember.

For a mediator teaching in a law school there is an additional challenge. Students are being inducted into the great tradition of legal reasoning which sifts ‘irrelevant’ from ‘relevant’ matters in the march towards court. Ideas [...]

Leadership Challenges and Mediation

I recently had the opportunity to co-facilitate a training workshop with Tom Schaub of CMPartners and re-acquainted myself with a model of challenges that face leaders today. This is a model that was created by Ronald Heifezt and is captured in the book “Leadership Without Easy Answers”.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on this model but thinking about it prompted connections in my mind between it and mediation. I’d like to take this month’s entry to explore these connections.

Put simply, Heifetz identifies 3 types of leadership challenges. The first type of leadership challenge is where the problem is known and the solution is known. A leader essentially needs to apply the correc [...]

Not All Mediation Educational Programs Are Worth the Time or Money

Given the rapid expansion of the mediation field over the past several decades, an increasingly important question for young and aspiring mediators is whether it is worth the time and/or money to invest in what are, in many cases, quite extensive mediation and dispute resolution training programs that have popped up around the world. Common questions include, “Do potential clients care what my credentials are?”; “Will I become a more effective neutral through coursework?”; and, perhaps most importantly, “Is this worth my time or money?” (an especially important consideration when one is attempting to break into the field with an initially small or non-existent mediation clientele [...]