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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 [...]

Empirical study on international commercial mediation and conciliation

In a previous post, I shared Professor Stacie Strong’s call for blog readers to respond to her survey on international commercial mediation practice. Thank you to everyone you did.

While the final results are still pending, Prof Strong has released some preliminary results from the study.

The study, which is entitled “Use and Perception of International Commercial Mediation and Conciliation: A Preliminary Report on Issues Relating to the Proposed UNCITRAL Convention on International Commercial Mediation and Conciliation,” was written by Professor S.I. Strong of the University of Missouri and collected detailed data on 34 different questions from 221 respondents from all over the world. Surv [...]

Scotland: The Final Word?

“The key to doing well lies not in overcoming others,
but in eliciting their co-operation.”
Robert Axelrod

“Although negotiation takes place every day, it is not easy to do well. Standard strategies for negotiation often leave people dissatisfied, worn out or alienated…..”
Roger Fisher and William Ury

For probably the final time, I am writing about the referendum which was recently held in Scotland. Now, a Commission has been set up to address the need for additional powers, which the “No” vote has prompted.

Collaborative Scotland and Core Solutions have submitted views. These may be of interest to all of those who are pondering how the future of politics and our mediation work may i [...]

Spreading the word

This brief comment arises from genuine curiosity and contains a question for my co-authors and anyone else who happens to read this blog. The situation is this: I’ve recently finished reading the first instalment of the learning journals for my Negotiation and Mediation class, which is a device I’ve used for the more than 20 years I’ve been teaching such a course. I’ll usually acknowledge at the outset to the class that this is probably an unusual component for a law school, but it is well-established in comparable courses and is probably something many professionals do as a way of maintaining their own reflective practice. The format has certainly changed over the years, from hand w [...]

Lie to Me (diation)

I must confess that I am getting addicted to the TV series “Lie to Me”.

Dr. Cal Lightman, the series protagonist, and his assistant, Dr. Gillian Foster, are specialists in fraud detection through a rather unconventional method: facial expression and body language analysis. Dr. Lightman’s character is based on the well known psychologist Paul Ekman, and his client list varies from the FBI to private institutions, and even individuals interested in finding out some hidden truths in their personal lives.

Despite the cinematographic approach, “Lie to Me” tries to provide a scientific overview of a rather unexplored segment (body and facial expressions), demonstrating, through simple exa [...]

The Singapore Mediation Lecture 2014

The Singapore Mediation Lecture 2014 was delivered on 26 September 2014 by Mr. Brad Berenson, the Vice President and Senior Counsel for Litigation and Legal Policy of General Electric. The third lecture in this series, the Singapore Mediation Lecture is a result of a partnership between the Singapore Mediation Centre, the Singapore Management University School of Law and Harry Elias Partnership. Previous speakers were the former president of Singapore, Mr. S R Nathan (2012) and Lord Woolf (2013).

The title of the lecture was “The Mediation Imperative: Why Successful Companies Embrace Mediation”. I do not propose to reproduce the speech here. The speech will be published in the Asian Jou [...]

SETTLEMENT – A Mediator’s Prayer

Hong Kong mediator, lawyer and poet, TK Iu, was introduced to readers by fellow blogger Joel Lee earlier this year. TK’s first published poetic piece on mediation was entitled, ‘A Mediator’s Prayer’, inspired by the Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. If you missed it, it’s well worth the read. In just a few lines, ‘A Mediator’s Prayer’ prompts mediators to reflect on why we do what we do – both in the mediation room and beyond.

TK’s most recent piece is entitled ‘SETTLEMENT’. I have taken the liberty to set it out here for readers. As I read its lines again, I can’t help thinking what a creative tool this would be for mediator training. There’s loads of studies that show the utility of [...]