I begin with two poetic images. One is from an 8th century Taoist poem – I asked the boy beneath the pines. He said, “The master’s gone alone Herb-picking somewhere on the mount, Cloud-hidden, whereabouts unknown.” [Chia Tao (777-841)] And the other, more recent, from W H Auden’s poem “Law Like Love”: And always the…

‘Justice’, an “all-party law reform and human rights organisation working to strengthen the justice system” launched a new report on April 23rd entitled ‘DELIVERING JUSTICE IN AN AGE OF AUSTERITY’. The report could be described as a plan to deliver justice despite the cuts. It proposes a transformation of the court system in England and…

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…

Here is a confession. I have a theory (in the best traditions of Monty Python). It is totally untested. I am pretty certain that it would not survive rigorous, double-blind trials. It may, however, contain some seeds of insight. My theory – wait for it – is that mediations where one or more of the…

Not so long ago I was a claiming party as part of a group of plaintiffs in the stead of my elderly parents in a multiparty, multimillion dollar mediation. Now, I mediate around 120 mediations every year as a commercial mediator here in New Zealand so it was with a mix of personal apprehension and professional curiosity…

On 25th and 26th June, the ICC and FIDIC (International Federation of Consulting Engineers: http://fidic.org/) hosted their annual conference in Paris. While most of the discussion was, understandably, concerned with either arbitration or adjudication – the latter involving primarily Disputes Boards (http://www.dbfederation.org/) acting under FIDIC contracts – mediation made an appearance at a number of…

In a previous posting I looked at Hong Kong’s new Mediation Ordinance, which came into force on 1 January 2013. This legislative activity comes hot on the heels of a major revision of the Hong Kong Arbitration Ordinance which came into effect in 2011. Given the increasing interest in multi-tiered dispute resolution (MDR) processes such…

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…

I come from a Western mediation tradition that argues strenuously for neutrality and impartiality in a mediator. Indeed, one of the first questions lawyers will ask when hiring me is whether or not I have any conflict of interest – in other words, do I know those involved in the dispute, have I worked with…