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How do we consider mediation?

This article may be helpful particularly if you consider settling a case as a party or as an advisor.

There are many perspectives that one can consider when looking at mediation. One example is that our current mediation culture is still in development. Therefore, sometimes, parties ask me, the mediator, to invite the other party to mediation. Actually, this is happening more than I would prefer and it may be related to the society’s education, acceptance and respect towards mediation. In these cases I get to send a letter and communicate with the other party.

I was recently talking with a client’s lawyer about the possibility of mediating a commercial case and he respectfully denied th [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Leaving disputants to their own devices

The title of this blog is not as harsh and heartless as it might seem at first sight. True, mediation proceeds largely on assumptions of disputant autonomy and participation; and the expectation is that the outcomes will be those designed by, and with the commitment of, the participants. This comment, however, picks up on two threads: first, the previous entry by Charlie Irvine on his experience of online dispute resolution [http://kluwermediationblog.com/2014/07/12/to-see-ourselves-as-others-see-us-the-surprising-potential-of-online-dispute-resolution/] as well as earlier discussions on this blog site and in the burgeoning literature on ODR; and second, more specific commentaries on the pot [...]

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 [...]

Czech Innovation

Hradec Kralove

Czech Innovation: “Mediation Assistants”

Fascinating visit to the Czech Republic recently. I was asked to provide the training for a group of ‘mediation assistants’. Never having heard the term before I was intrigued. I flew to Prague (stag-night capital of Europe) and after a reasonably terrifying drive through a rainstorm arrived in in Hradec Králové, the country’s 8th largest city. Away from Prague’s metropolitan tourism the area is largely agricultural with a fair amount of unemployment. Against this backdrop my hosts had made their bold proposal to the EU to provide employment opportunities by training people as ‘mediation assistants’.

So who is a mediation assist [...]

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 [...]

Falling Upward?

I have been reflecting recently on the individual and collective professional journeys we all undertake – and on the different stages we reach. My reading has taken me to a thought-provoking book by theologian Richard Rohr, entitled Falling Upward.

Rohr’s thesis, put very simply, is that there are two stages to life. The first, necessary, stage involves building up a career with an identity, fulfilling ambition, acquiring material things, seeking security and achieving status. The second stage, which not everyone reaches, incorporates and transcends the first as we achieve a certain peace, appreciate the important things, accept things as they are and subordinate the ego. It involves unlea [...]

Helping Businesses Doing Business

I have heard the title of today’s post during CPR’s Business Mediation Congress , which took place last week in Brazil. It couldn’t be more correct: companies should not be in the litigation business, but in the business of doing business.

With vast participation from different segments of the local business community, two important topics reached the top of the agenda of the Congress:

1) How companies can implement and benefit from Mediation and other forms of ADR;

2) The current belief that the use of “specialist” Mediators in corporate cases is more effective than the use of “generalists.”

As these two topics are very different from each other and, due to their relevance and [...]