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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 [...]

Mediating Early And Late

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 not had years in which to entrench themselves in the unerring rightness of their cause, nor the irredeemable evil of their opponents. We have all seen the effect that many years of commitment to a particular position can have. Trying to encourage any other perspective after so long can be hard.

• The parties are generally less heavily invested in the case after a shorter time. Thi [...]

All Change!

Ireland is changing. It is changing at a pace that few would have anticipated. Recent weeks have seen the latest step in the process of building peace and reconciliation between Ireland and the UK with Prince Charles making a meaningful and moving visit to Mullaghmore, County Sligo, the site of the IRA bombing which took the life of his uncle, Lord Mountbatten, and others. In the same week, hot on the heels of a far-reaching and extensive piece of family law reform legislation, Ireland became the first country to legalise same-sex marriage by means of a popular vote. The population of a country known for its traditional values and strong influence of the Catholic Church on law and values, vo [...]

Mediation Games

John Nash died this week, in a tragic car accident. John Nash was the Nobel-prize winning mathematician whose theory of non-cooperative games published in 1950 has been described as one of the top ten ideas in economics in the 20th century.

His theory introduced and explored the concept of what is known as Nash equilibrium. According to the New York Times obituary, Nash equilibrium provides a conceptually simple but powerful mathematical tool for analysing a wide range of competitive situations, from corporate rivalries to legislative decision-making. It builds on the notion that, in most real world interactions, there is potential for more than a zero-sum game. Players’ interests are not [...]

Shifts or Illusions? The Reality of India’s Growing Mediation Scenario

It is quite well recognized that India is not particularly a mediation-friendly country, and the corporate-legal community is yet to internalise commercial mediation as an alternate for dispute resolution. Despite the establishment of civil mediation centres across certain High Courts of the country, organised mediation has largely remained obscure in its application for larger disputes. Until now, that is. Amarchand Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co is India’s biggest law firm, with offices spanning the country. In 2014, a dispute arose regarding the contents of a family will concerning the division of shares in the firm, which was referred to mediation by the Bombay High Court based on a [...]