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Gratitude For The Law

Magna_charta_cum_statutis_angliae_p1This year in the UK we are celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, or “Great Charter”. Signed in 1215, it remains one of the most famous documents in the world, and central to the British constitution. In mediator parlance, it is a “settlement agreement”. It came into being as a compromise between King John of England and the Barons who challenged his authority, and it established for the first time that everyone, including the king, was subject to the law*.

Interestingly, and less well-known, this deal was mediated. Archbishop Stephen Langton stepped into the role, holding separate talks with each side to hear their grievances, and ultimately bringing them together [...]

Singapore Development – Joint Launch of the State Courts Centre for Dispute Resolution and “Mediation in Singapore: A Practical Guide”

I’d like to spend this month’s blog entry providing an update on a Singapore development. On the 4 March 2015, there was the launch of the State Courts Centre for Dispute Resolution by the Chief Justice of Singapore, Mr. Sundaresh Menon.

At the same time, Thomson Reuters also launched their book “Mediation in Singapore: A Practical Guide” which houses the contributions of a diverse group of mediators and mediation advocates in private practice, academia, judiciary and government.

This author hopes to provide a review of this book in a future entry. For the moment, this entry will focus on the State Courts Centre for Dispute Resolution.

The State Courts has had a long relationship [...]

What’s your country’s mediation-friendly ranking?

As mediation seeks to claim a larger slice of the international dispute resolution pie, an increasingly important question for lawyers is: where and according to which law would I choose to have the mediation of my clients matter conducted?

Say your client is a multinational corporation doing business with numerous organizations around the globe. Your advice is to insert a dispute resolution clause with mediation as a central component. Typically we select jurisdictions with which we are familiar to do business with. Smits explains the research that backs this up. This is sometimes referred to as the status quo bias. It might be our own jurisdiction or it might be another internationally we [...]

Dispute Resolution of a New Generation*

As the world of business develops at an unprecedented pace, we all are constantly facing new challenging situations which we must rapidly understand, find new solutions to and, in some cases, adapt ourselves to. A global net of co-operations, business opportunities, market resources and novel technologies has inevitable spanned across our world of business.

Along with any innovation and development comes a new challenge and with that a new method to deal with it. Unsurprisingly, the segment of dispute resolution is no different from the others and also needs to rapidly adapt to the fast paced developments in the world of international commerce. Globalized, multicultural and highly complex t [...]

Whisper It Quietly?

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 off it.

Perhaps it was a mistake? Nope. Check out this year’s UK Legal 500. Three of the top twenty are women. This year’s UK Chambers Directory? Four of the top nineteen (though with a big shout for Frances Maynard who tops the list).

Now, I am no student of gender politics or history. And I don’t think of myself as a feminist, or a misogynist, or any other r [...]

Mediation Mastery

I was all set to write about climate change and, more particularly, to reflect on some excellent writing on that subject which addresses so-called climate change sceptics or deniers. It seems to me that there is much to be learned about the motivations and psychology which affect such people and which can easily be read across to help us understand the resistance that is still so prevalent to mediation.

However, I can keep that blog for next time as the best thing I can do now is to commend a truly excellent new book entitled How to Master Commercial Mediation, authored by David Richbell, one of the real father figures of mediation in Europe, together with 85 other contributors. I confess th [...]

Small businesses are Big !

Nowadays, more than ever, we live in a relationship-based environment, where networking, information and experience exchange form, among others, very important pillars of large and small organizations. These important concepts have been widely recognized by large corporations and successful small businesses but, unfortunately, there are still some skepticism from some small business segments, especially from self-made entrepreneurs, as some still tend not to trust or seek third party advice. The ability to remain competitive and ahead of competition is more than ever associated to the capacity to fully understand and interact with its nearby environment.

In an attempt to further spread the [...]

Reflecting on mediation as a new year beckons…..

As 2014 comes to an end, it is good to reflect. How privileged many of us are. I often remark to others that my “job” is better than “real work”. What do I mean when I say that?

As mediators, we have an extraordinary window through which we view life, other people and what happens in times of difficulty or distress. It is a vantage point which we need to cherish and respect.

In a period of ten days recently, I worked as a mediator in a number of diverse situations. These, anonymised here, have included an evening with townspeople explaining to a quarry operator their distress about the effects on a community of nearby blasting. I have sought to help a national sports body handle a very sensi [...]

Mediating In The Shower?

Global Legal Post recently carried an article intriguingly entitled “Lawyers find Eureka moments in the shower“. Sadly the article itself lacked the slightly salacious promise of its title. Instead, it focused on the results of a survey of London city lawyers, indicating that those surveyed did their most creative thinking in the shower or commuting (27% in each case). By contrast, only 10% attained their creative peak in the office.

Intuitively, this doesn’t surprise me. There is inevitably (and quite properly) a rigour and a structure to office life. Institutions usually function that way, particularly the larger ones. Perhaps they need to, to avoid chaos.

But everything has [...]

Mediator’s Proposals? A Story…

I have never been a great fan of mediator’s proposals. I took the view that the mediator’s job, done well, was to help the parties to come to a solution themselves. Party autonomy and all that. Achieving a satisfactory outcome, I thought, shouldn’t require a specific suggestion by the mediator.

I have changed my view. As usual, experience is a great teacher. As is improvisation. Here’s what happened. After several hours of to-ing and fro-ing, and with a still significant gap between them, the mediator brought the principals together to meet with him, without their legal advisers (and with the advisers’ permission and encouragement). They talked for a while about their respective claims and [...]