(This is a ‘letter to self’ about court ADR research sent from the American Bar Association Dispute Resolution Conference, San Francisco, April 2017.) Do Litigants Know Their Options? It’s always fascinating to come to a country where mediation is business as usual. There are some downsides to this, but the upside that immediately strikes a…

I recently carried out New Zealand’s first empirical research on the users of commercial mediation. This is Part Three of a three-part study (Part One = the mediators, Part Two = the gatekeepers/lawyers). Getting to grips with what users think of commercial mediation is the Holy Grail for mediation professionals. Until now in New Zealand,…

Have you ever wondered who mediators are helping? The parties, obviously! Well, not so obvious to our critics. In this blog I consider worries about mediation’s approach to manifest injustice before making the case for understanding the mediator as co-creator, with the parties, of outcomes. I argue that co-creation enhances the prospects for justice. Stories…

What is it about disputes in regulated sectors that make them suited to mediation? Regulated sectors are ripe for disputes. Whether it’s the energy, financial or telecoms sector, there are often incumbent players that own key infrastructure that is essential for delivering services to customers. At the same time new entrants may be vying for…

The U.K.’s decision to leave the EU and the voting in of the protectionist Donald Trump to the US presidency has drawn both the UK and the USA into the Nash Trap. U.S. mathematician John Nash (the movie ‘A Beautiful Mind’) postulated that Adam Smith’s declaration that ‘In competition, individual ambition serves the common good’…

Forty-five years ago, Professor Christopher Stone published a paper entitled “Should Trees have Standing? Towards Legal Rights for Natural Objects”. [45 Southern California Law Review 450–501.] Two years later, that paper had morphed into a book of the same title, with the subtitle, “Law, morality and the Environment” (1974; 3rd ed, 2010; OUP). Stone’s objective…

Students demonstrating cooperation

Morton Deutsch, the great social psychologist of common sense, explained the difference between competition and cooperation thus: “if you’re positively linked with another, then you sink or swim together; with negative linkage, if the other sinks, you swim, and if the other swims, you sink.”1)Cooperation and Competition. In M. Deutsch, P. T. Coleman, & E….

I (Bill) remember doing my first commercial mediation. I was 29, and in the presence of the four parties and their advisers I felt even younger. It was not lost on me that (as Suzanne Rab recently noted in Do You Need Grey Hairs to Mediate?) people expected someone older to walk into the room….

Mediation is already here, and it came to stay. Each day there are more and more supporters of mediation – from legislators to public institutions, and professionals who are gaining more awareness about the potential of mediation. However, it also has a long way to go. Those who decided to start working in the field…

It’s a no brainer, right? Of course mediation should be free, then many more people would use it, it would solve the problem of court waiting lists and huge legal aid bills right? Shouldn’t it? Or should it. What does free really mean? Free for whom? These questions arise out of the current debate here…