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 back up that mountain they called Budget.
That image has long disappeared for me, but ever since Rick Weiler was brave enough to reflect on his three failed mediations and Jeff Krivis was prepared to post on the death of mediation in California, I have been circling this piece on mediator fatigue knowing that these kinds of topics are risky demons to raise.
But as we start a new year, the time feels right.
It’s not as if [...]
In June 2012 the Hong Kong Legislative Council passed the Mediation Ordinance (MO), the first piece of legislation on mediation in Hong Kong SAR. The MO was a much awaited and highly anticipated law and some mediation advocates have been disappointed in what they see as much ado about nothing. After all the MO appears as a very thin document containing only 11 provisions.
However the MO must be seen as part of Hong Kong’s broader mediation landscape. As a member of the Mediation Taskforce that was responsible for the content of the MO, I can report that the Ordinance was the subject of serious international research and deliberation. It forms the pivotal piece of a broader legal landscape [...]
In this posting I want to reflect on how, as a mediator, I’ve learnt much from the related but independent conflict management process, called conflict coaching. Before I get ahead of myself, however, let me start by offering an explanation of conflict coaching.
Conflict coaching is a service provided by a conflict specialist to a person who is, or may in the future be, involved in conflict. According to the REAL Conflict Coaching model, coaches assist clients to develop the 5 Cs:
CLARITY: Gain clarity about the conflict situation;
COMPREHENSION: Understand their own, and the other person’s, needs and goals;
CHOICES: Identify and evaluate their choices for moving forward;
Theories are simplified models of reality. They have the advantage of shedding light on complex subjects through a simplified and understandable set of ideas. Theories help to describe, explain, foresee and control. Some theories can be easily proven and others not proven at all. However, there is a particular field of study, named “Game Theory”, which offers countless contributions to a large variety of situations, from computer and political sciences to business and biology.
In our specific case (Dispute Resolution), Game Theory offers great insights on the best strategies to resolve a dispute. In special, Game Theory’s most fascinating insight is the idea that cooperation is the [...]
Singapore was the location of an ADR conference over 4-5 October 2012. The conference was entitled “The 5Cs of ADR: Collaboration-Communication-Consensus-Cooperation-Conclusion” and was jointly organized by the Subordinate Courts of Singapore, the Singapore Mediation Centre, the Law Society of Singapore, the Supreme Court of Singapore, the Singapore Academy of Law, the Ministry of Law and the Community Mediation Centres. The conference saw a gathering of academics, practitioners and service providers from, inter alia, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Maldives and Fiji to share developments about ADR and to discuss ways to move th [...]
This week in Glasgow, Strathclyde University hosted the first seminar in a series entitled ‘Reframing Resolution – Managing Individual Workplace Conflict’. The six seminars will take place across the UK over the next 12 months and the opener was ambitiously called ‘Understanding Individual Employment Disputes.’ The day contained elements that were encouraging and others that were rather disturbing. The same economic and social forces that affect the UK are no doubt playing out across the Western world, and possibly elsewhere, so it is worth dwelling on what we learned.
Let’s start with encouragement. It was heartening for the mediators present to find that academics in the field of Indust [...]
Geoff Sharp’s recent blog posting, Biased is better and Partiality is In, challenges the conventional mediation wisdom that views impartiality and neutrality as hallmarks of the mediation process. Here impartiality refers to a disinterestedness in the outcome of the dispute and the absence of real and perceived conflicts of interest in relation to the matter. I’d like to pick up on some of Geoff’s comments and extend the conversation in relation to historical and cross-cultural perspectives.
Historically mediators have used diverse approaches to intervene in conflict. At the turn of the last century, German sociologist Georg Simmel identified the ubiquitous role of the mediator, someti [...]
Mediators often talk about the power of framing their own language and reframing the language of parties and others in mediation settings. For example, mediators may frame their comments in neutral, constructive and future-focused language. They may reframe party statements to detoxify offensive or destructive language or to create a shift from the negative to the positive, from the past to the future, from interests to positions, and so on.
In this blog I want to offer three examples of the power of (re)framing from the perspective of negotiators in a mediation setting, that is parties and their professional advisers. While my comments are equally as relevant to (re)framing by mediators, I [...]
Part of my June was spent preparing for and being involved in a peer mediation initiative in Singapore called Peacemakers. This project was first run in 2010 and had as its purpose the goal of bringing the ideas of mediation and collaborative problem solving to young people. This initiative saw students (aged between 13 to 16) from different secondary schools coming together for 3 days to participate in a program that involved a training workshop and a mediation competition.
In the three years that I have been involved with Peacemakers, it is always heartening to see eager young minds learning the skills of mediation in the short period that we have with them and I am always amazed at the e [...]
Looking back over my previous blog posts it strikes me that I’ve been throwing the term integration around a fair bit in the context of dispute resolution and mediation, in particular. The term “alternative dispute resolution” has always sat somewhat uneasily with me. While it is of course a correct description, as the procedures it offers are alternative to traditional litigation, I have always had the suspicion that, in a similar way to alternative medicine, it relegates mediation and similar processes to the sidelines, as something to try only if you are adverse to mainstream procedures or if everything else as failed. In order for mediation to be accepted as a realistic option for [...]