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…

On 4 September 2010, Christchurch – gateway to New Zealand’s scenic South Island – suffered a major 7.1 earthquake and before it could recover a further 6.3 earthquake shook the city on 22 February 2011 killing 185 people and damaging well over one third of the buildings in the CBD and tens of thousands of…

Armed with coloured paper, crayons and scissors, myself and nine other mediators spent a good portion of last Friday designing our “ideal” family conflict resolution service. While the background to this was, in part, recent and pending legislative change in the UK, some of which looks likely to impact negatively on families in conflict, these…

Sometimes, I look around at mediation events at a sea of grey hair (mine included!). Where, I wonder, are those to whom we are handing this torch? And more importantly, what do they think? So as the dust settled on last month’s ICC mediation competition in Paris, I took the chance to capture some of…

A potpourri of mediation-related reflections as the holiday break fades from memory. Hockey Mediation – With last Saturday’s puck drops in 13 cities the National Hockey League has commenced its lockout-shortened season. Full arenas around the league confirm the strength of the game’s drawing power if not the forgive-and-forget sentiments of long-suffering fans. Readers of this…

Down here in New Zealand it’s high summer and most of the country will spend until the end of January at the beach. I remember, when I was still at my law firm 10 years ago, the feeling of brief respite at this time of year before having to put on my boots again and trudge…

My basic nature is to be optimistic about the future. If I were one of the six thinking hats described by author Edward DeBono, I would be the yellow hat. The yellow hat is for optimism and the logical, positive view of things. The yellow hat looks for how something can be done and requires…

Mediation is often portrayed as a useful vehicle for disputes between equals, where parties can be expected to speak for themselves and neither has significant power over the other. Critics, and even supporters, become more sceptical when it comes to less symmetrical situations. Complaints against professionals are one such category. The professional is seen to…

Recently, during a lull in the action in a tort mediation, I was drawn aside by an insurance representative I see frequently. He had concerns about my “style” as a mediator. “Every mediation it’s the same thing”, he said. “It’s almost like everyone knows where the case is going to settle in advance so why…