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Keep Mediation and Arbitration Separate?

My wife and I recently spent a very convivial evening at the beautiful home in Sydney of leading Australian mediator Alan Limbury and his wife, Dr. Rosemary Howell, who coaches a team from the University of New South Wales in the annual ICC mediation competition.

One topic which stimulated some forthright conversation was the use of hybrids whereby a mediator takes on the role of arbitrator if the matter does not resolve by mediation. In particular, we discussed the transition from mediator to arbitrator with the consent of the parties. It’s a topic on which I recently addressed a group in Dublin too and, contrary to my regular pontification about the value of ambiguity and the need to avo [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

The 2016 Global Pound Conference Series!

Global-Pound_mid_-resolution_finalIn April 1976, an event now known as the Pound Conference ignited modern ADR in the USA, launching discussion of what may have become the “greatest reform in the history of the country’s judicial system”.1 Forty years later, all stakeholders in the dispute prevention and resolution fields around the world are being invited to participate in a series of unique thought leadership events around the globe under the auspices of a Global Pound Conference (“GPC”) series.

The GPC has a remarkable goal: to shape the future of dispute resolution and access to justice in the 21st Century.

An invitation to shape the future of dispute resolution

The bold program, which will generate debate an [...]

When mediation isn’t mediation at all…

At the risk of being accused of being too much of a purist, I just have to have a little grumble about the latest misappropriation of the term mediation. All involved in promoting and encouraging the use of mediation know how one of the largest barriers to people availing of this process is the lack of understanding of its key principles and how it really works. The fallout from Garth Brooks’ plans to rock Dublin over five consecutive nights this month has, very publicly, confused the issue once again.
Mr. Brooks, in fairness, was not at fault here, merely deciding to bow to the begging of his fans and put on five shows in a row. These shows are (were) to be held in Dublin’s largest stad [...]

Nudging cross-border mediation forward

How do you get people to eat more fruit and less junk food?

How do you get more people to agree to donate their organs?

How do you get more people to engage in cross-border mediation?

I’ll come back to food and organs shortly. Let’s stay with mediation for a minute.

Within Asia, Hong Kong, Singapore and other centres are positioning themselves as regional leaders in cross-border mediation. Statistically though, there is not an enormous amount of cross-border mediation going on. International arbitration remains the process of choice.

At mediation conferences and other get-togethers, mediators and other ADR advocates ask themselves, why?

Some say it’s the lack of an international lega [...]

In Youth We Trust

On the day when the finals of the world’s largest ADR student competition starts, I could not think of any better topic for my blog posting. I have been teaching and coaching students for the last eleven years, and it has become an important part of my life and a highly rewarding experience. Consequently, I have no doubt that there is no better way of promoting ADR than bringing it closer to people in the form of reality-based simulations, exercises and role-plays. Students enjoy learning by doing, and welcome their “moot” experience enthusiastically. The competition teaches them to how to think out of the box and work together as a team.

The Willem C Vis International Commercial Arb [...]

Ontario Decision Highlights Settlement Related Issues in Mediation

The recent Ontario Superior Court decision of Healy J. in Southlake Regional Health Centre v. Beswick Group Properties touches on a number of issues arising from settlement at mediation.

Briefly, this was a landlord and tenant dispute relating to a Medical Arts Building and other development lands. The full factual background can be read by linking to the decision above. Basically the landlord and tenant sued each other in 2011 alleging various breaches of a development agreement and lease. Those disputes went to mediation with Larry Banack, a well known and highly respected Ontario mediator, in September 2013 and a settlement was reached. The mediator drafted the Settlement Agreement which [...]

Reflections on Cologne University’s Summer Academy in Mediation

Each September for the past 11 years, Cologne University, under the auspices of CENTRAL (the Center for Transnational Law:, and in Association with the German Institution of Arbitration (DIS: has hosted a Summer Academy in International Commercial Arbitration. More recently – 8 years ago – an academy on mediation was added, to run alongside that arbitration programme. I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved with the mediation programme for the past four years, facilitating the first two days of the four-day programme.

Each academy attracts a range of young participants – it is aimed at “emerging” professionals hoping to kickstart their dispu [...]