This is a blog I have shied away from writing. Several times. Even now, as I do so, I am wary of it. But here goes. I’ll come right out with it. Very few women feature on the lists of “top” commercial mediators. This year’s Who Who Legal World’s Top Ten features precisely….none. Seriously? Come…

Something is in the air at the moment. And it goes to the heart of what we mediators do. On the one hand, noted mediation thinkers such as Robert Bush and Joseph Folger write an empassioned challenge to the profession “Reclaiming Mediation’s Future: Getting Over the Intoxication of Expertise, Re-Focusing on Party Self-Determination”, arguing that…

In the world of international mediation, global providers such as ICC, WIPO and AAA/ICDR dominate the landscape together with various more regionally based institutions such as HKIAC, SMC and CEDR. Of course, parties who choose to resolve cross-border disputes by way of mediation are free to develop their own bespoke rules of engagement as they might in their domestic mediations…

Last month, Al Jazeera carried a piece called “‘Mama Boko Haram’ grasps for peace in Nigeria”. It detailed the activities of Aisha Wakil (pictured above), a Nigerian lawyer who has become a de facto mediator between Boco Haram and the Nigerian government – often at considerable risk to herself. “Mama Boko Haram”, as she has…

Many mediations are 80/20 – that is, 80% of the day spent in dialogue and debate with not much sign of movement and, as evening gathers, 20% frenetic activity. So it is not unusual for the parties to sit together for many hours and ask towards the end of the day “are we any nearer each other?”…

Recently my good friend Canon Andrew White (aka “the Vicar of Baghdad”, as he is the Anglican priest at St George’s Church, Baghdad) convened a meeting of religious certain leaders from Iraq and Israel, bringing together senior Iraqi Muslim and Israeli Jewish figures in Cyprus for several days of talks about peace. It was by…

I am indebted to my friend and fellow mediator Mark Lomas QC for sending me the following email recently: ‘I have come across what I think may be one of the earliest recorded mediations in England, and conducted at the highest level. An Italian called Tito Livio dei Frulovisi wrote an account of the life…

Mediators deal in words – not exclusively, but a great deal (and perhaps sometimes too much, but that’s another blog). So it pays for us to think carefully about what words really mean. A couple of years ago, I came across an article entitled “US facilitation yes, mediation no: Omar”. It detailed how Pakistan, through…

Not so long ago I was a claiming party as part of a group of plaintiffs in the stead of my elderly parents in a multiparty, multimillion dollar mediation. Now, I mediate around 120 mediations every year as a commercial mediator here in New Zealand so it was with a mix of personal apprehension and professional curiosity…