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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 [...]

Mediation Magic

I believe that by now you all had enough of my comments on the 2014 FIFA World Cup. So let’s move on to other aspects of life.

Last month, IBA’s Mediation Committee organized a regional meeting in Brazil in order to discuss the latest trends in Commercial Mediation. The event was supported by Veirano Law Firm, one of the most prestigious Firms in Brazil, and was attended by several lawyers, in house counsels and members of the public sector, some of them hearing about mediation for the first time. In addition to being a great success, the event could be seen as another small step towards increasing the general awareness level of Commercial Mediation in the country.

Although I could pr [...]

Sports, Mediation and Leadership

It was not my intention to continue talking about the 2014 FIFA World Cup, as I am not a big football fan, and probably most of us have had enough of it over the last six weeks. However, Brazil’s 7 x 1 knockout defeat to Germany is still in every Brazilian’s mind. How this could happen, what went wrong and what the “football nation” can expect in the future are some of the questions still echoing in every corner of the country.

In my humble, not expert, football opinion, instead of asking ourselves “what went wrong”, we should in fact be asking how Germany managed to do it.

Losing to Brazil in the 2002 World Cup final game and being eliminated in their own territory at the quarter [...]

The Race towards a New York Convention for Cross-border Mediated Settlement Agreements: the Fable of the Tortoise and the Hare Revisited?

Tortoise-Hare-new-version

In his recent posting for the Kluwer Arbitration Blog, Michael McIlwrath picks up on what I affectionately refer to as the NYC4M (New York Convention for Mediation) theme, that is the debate about whether an international convention for the enforcement and recognition of cross-border mediated settlement agreements would assist the development of, and promote the use of, cross-border mediation. It’s a theme that Geoff Sharp of this Blog has also pursued. Moreover, the International Mediation Institute and the International Bar Association have recently announced a joint Taskforce to pursue an NYC4M.

While the idea seems at first glance like a no-brainer, an obviously attractive proposal t [...]

When mediation isn’t mediation at all…

At the risk of being accused of being too much of a purist, I just have to have a little grumble about the latest misappropriation of the term mediation. All involved in promoting and encouraging the use of mediation know how one of the largest barriers to people availing of this process is the lack of understanding of its key principles and how it really works. The fallout from Garth Brooks’ plans to rock Dublin over five consecutive nights this month has, very publicly, confused the issue once again.
Mr. Brooks, in fairness, was not at fault here, merely deciding to bow to the begging of his fans and put on five shows in a row. These shows are (were) to be held in Dublin’s largest stad [...]

Lessons in Life for Mediators?

I am interested in convergence – of ideas, of behaviour, of trends, of different disciplines. The more I read, the more common themes I discern in the arts, science, spirituality, leadership and in what we do as mediators. A reflection of this is found in the African concept of ubuntu, “the profound sense that we are human only through the humanity of others.” These are the words of Nelson Mandela. Ironically, one of the finest books I have come across recently which encourages this idea of convergence is Mandela’s Way: Lessons in Life, by Mandela’s biographer, Richard Stengel.

In fifteen short chapters, Stengel captures the essence of what made Mandela special – and each one of [...]

Contrasting mediations….richness awaits…..

I write here about two contrasting experiences which have, for me, underscored the richness of the mediation process.

In one mediation, involving business partners with an ongoing management issue, one of the protagonists (A) suggested bringing in another partner (D) who was not perceived to be a part of the present problem, simply to observe, be a resource to the participants and help balance numbers as A, a more junior partner, felt outnumbered by B and C who held senior positions.

D made clear at the outset that he did not wish to say much and that he did not wish to become embroiled. However, a private meeting with him elicited much information that seemed helpful going forward. Rather [...]

Unsettlement

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves. . . Do not now look for the answers. . . At present you need to live the question.” Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

At the heart of the idea of mediation is the aim of settlement – the amicable resolution of the issues in contention between parties. As some of the previous entries in this blog series have also indicated, the idea of settlement itself can be contentious: “settlement” assumes the primacy of party autonomy and choice, which can be set against the expectations of public norms and the consistency of principles. Part of the early (left wing) critique of med [...]