The other day my friend and fellow mediator, Jill Howieson, was showing me pictures of gaps in buildings. Now, these are neither accidental gaps nor defects in buildings. Rather these gaps are very deliberate; they form an essential element of construction design. They are the famous architectural gaps of architect Carlo Scarpa. Scarpa was well-known…

Patent wars are a perennial hot topic with not only IP experts being familiar with stories of well-known patent disputes. A classic example is perhaps the story of the Wright brothers, who received a patent for their method of flight control in 1906 and fiercely defended it for years afterward, by suing other aviators and…

Most mediators are pragmatists. This may not be our reputation, but in reality we wrestle daily with practical matters such as who will do what, when they will do it and how much it will cost. I once taught mediation to a group of therapists. Their ‘soft’ skills (this doesn’t mean easy) were fantastic, actively…

On May 16, 2011, the Swiss Supreme Court confirmed a previous ruling on the content and interpretation of a dispute resolution clause that provided for a conciliation attempt prior to resorting to arbitration (decision No. 4A_46/2011, X GmbH v. Y Sàrl, accessible here in French). The clause at stake was drafted as follows (free translation…

Disputes are like weddings or funerals: they require a serious resolution procedure. As such, mediation procedures have rapidly spread throughout the world. They travel without passport. The rapid evolution of mediation started as a court-annexed or connected procedure, and caused a revolution in the dispute system design of modern civil justice. A multi-door courthouse with…