This week the 5th World Summit on Elder Mediation is taking place in Glasgow: see http://www.eldermediation.ca/styled-2/index.html. It is an inspiring gathering, bringing together mediators from Canada, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, England and Scotland, all committed to helping older people deal with conflict in a way that is humane and just. The range of issues is daunting…

Scotland is a practical nation. The list of its inventions includes penicillin, anaesthetics, steam engines, tarmac roads and even the decimal point (see http://www.magicdragon.com/Wallace/thingscot.html#Ta). Like the rest of the UK its culture was in part forged by the ‘practical man’ of the Industrial Revolution, rejecting grand theory in favour of trial and error. Its lawyers,…

I was recently given an extraordinary birthday present: a day at the Nick Nairn Cook School (www.nicknairncookschool.com). Nick Nairn is one of Scotland’s most famous celebrity chefs, known for his respect for traditional Scottish fare, and as something of a foody I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday. I wasn’t disappointed….

It is not uncommon to hear lawyers speak warmly of mediation in general, but when asked if they would recommend it for a particular case respond that they could not see it working. Related to this, lawyers who have developed well-honed negotiation skills may struggle to see how a mediator could improve on their outcomes….

I was pleased to read that this year’s ICC Competition went so well. Having hosted the UK Law Student Mediation Competition in Glasgow in November I was first-hand witness to the wholehearted, thoughtful way young mediators throw themselves into this work. They appear unaffected by the scepticism of older lawyers. All of this is very…

Like many of us I am constantly torn between simplicity and complexity. The world is complex: that’s a given. But a beautiful morning or a lover’s kiss is simplicity itself, and it’s a fool who overcomplicates it. And so with mediation, the profession/activity/vocation that has grown on me like a skin these last nineteen years….

This blog is inspired by a page from Monty Python’s ‘Big Red Book’ entitled ‘Why Accountancy is Not Boring.’ (Apologies to those who have not come across the Pythons’ rather English form of humour – for the original piece see http://arago4.tnw.utwente.nl/stonedead/publications/sketches/accountancy.html) Apologies too to accountants everywhere who, in the 1970’s, were probably as easy a…

One of the privileges and perils of working as a mediator in Scotland is that we get a close-up view of developments in England and Wales. In an ideal world this should allow us (pop. 5 million) to learn from them (pop. 55 million): to pick the best innovations and avoid the failures. As I…

Scotland sits on the north-west fringe of Europe, and is probably best known for whisky, rain and heroic failure on football and rugby pitches. While part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, many people don’t realise it has its own legal system. And why should they? Even English publications often talk…

Most mediators are pragmatists. This may not be our reputation, but in reality we wrestle daily with practical matters such as who will do what, when they will do it and how much it will cost. I once taught mediation to a group of therapists. Their ‘soft’ skills (this doesn’t mean easy) were fantastic, actively…