Many of us have been hearing about Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) for years but haven’t quite got round to using it. It sounds like a nice idea when face-to-face mediation isn’t an option through distance and/or cost. And yet I suspect that for most mediators the ‘gold standard’ is being in the same room as…

Czech Innovation: “Mediation Assistants” Fascinating visit to the Czech Republic recently. I was asked to provide the training for a group of ‘mediation assistants’. Never having heard the term before I was intrigued. I flew to Prague (stag-night capital of Europe) and after a reasonably terrifying drive through a rainstorm arrived in in Hradec Králové,…

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…

Lots of talk about ADR competitions on this blog, so I’ll throw my hat in the ring. Last month I took a team of students to the INADR International Law Student Mediation Tournament in Chicago (http://www.inadr.org/tournaments/law-school-tournament). This was the 13th competition and it was truly international, with 52 teams representing 17 US institutions and 22…

I have written before in this blog about Scotland’s slow pace of change (http://kluwermediationblog.com/2012/05/12/mediation-in-scotland-some-practical-questions-and-a-nudge-in-the-right-direction/). A naturally cautious nation, our ‘old world’ response to new ideas has generally been ‘what’s wrong with the old ones?’ I was comforted by Constantin-Adi Gavrila’s recent post on this blog which underlined that Scotland is not the only European nation…

There are times in mediation when emotions are so powerful that it’s impossible to think of anything else. This week I witnessed, at the very least, despair, fear, anger, hurt, sadness, care, love and relief. They can be fleeting – a flicker of amusement, a nod of recognition, a disdainful glance. Or they can be…

Recently I have noticed mediators using a label to describe other people’s practice. It is rarely a compliment. That label is “evaluative”; as in “she takes rather an evaluative approach” or “his background as a lawyer leads him to be evaluative.” More subtly, “We are firmly committed to the facilitative model” (and, by implication, not…

A human resources manager recently asked me for a general list of reasons why a mediation might not settle. While part of me wanted to question the idea of settlement as the goal of mediation (see Alan Gross’s excellent piece ‘Agreement Not the Gold Standard for Mediation – http://www.mediate.com/articles/GrossA3.cfm ) most of me thought this…

Another new mediation venture in Scotland: last week saw the launch of University of Strathclyde Mediation Clinic (http://www.strath.ac.uk/humanities/lawschool/mediationclinic/ ). While by no means a new idea, it’s the first in this jurisdiction. The response took us by surprise. We were graced with the presence of the University’s Principal, a judge, lawyers, sponsors, advice agencies, academics…

I’m not often drawn to practical tips. I once discovered that I am an “activist” learner. This apparently means that I learn best when “thrown in at the deep end” and less well when “absorbing and understanding data” (see http://archive.excellencegateway.org.uk/page.aspx?o=152477 for a description of learning styles and http://www.peterhoney.com for a self-evaluation test). It perhaps explains…