“Doubt is not a pleasant condition but certainty is an absurd one.” These words of Voltaire are as apt today as they were when he wrote them in the 18th century. I don’t know about you but this year seems to be a curious mixture where some people purport to deal in apparent certainties, which…

This is not a blog about the novel and films that might have captured the “grey” zone in public imagination. Rather, it’s about uncertainty, both within and about mediation. These notes also owe much to conversations with mediation colleagues at the ICC’s mediation competition in Paris in early February, over coffees and the occasional glass…

John and David Sturrock 1. Introduction Several years ago, while travelling back with my son David to Oxford where he was studying as an undergraduate, we discussed my work as a mediator and his study of economics, particularly the learning for us both from Game Theory. I (John) had been familiar with The Prisoners’ Dilemma…

“I often draw strength from meeting ordinary people doing extraordinary things … their lives frequently embody a truth expressed by Mother Teresa, from this year Saint Teresa of Calcutta. She once said: ‘Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love’. But even with the inspiration of…

I have just read Ian Macduff’s recent Kluwer blog (26 November: “Upheaval and resilience: a note from the Shaky Isles”). What a privilege it is, in this blog, to follow Ian’s erudite writing. He captures so well the spirit of the age, with all its uncertainty, tragedy, hope and opportunity. On that theme, my wife…

Tackling the cause of a dispute requires attention to detail. Often the real problem is lost in translation. Turning the fall out into legal definitions is the first step but it most certainly is not the most important as the law is only a component in a dispute and rarely provides an answer to it….

A few recent observations prompt this blog about language and the world of words that we work with in mediation. First, in reading around the burgeoning literature on online dispute resolution and – especially – at the algorithm-based, automated end of the scale, I note the suggestion that dispute resolution and mediation are based just…

The Olympics have come and gone with all of the emotion and inspiration they bring. In our recent, fully-subscribed, residential Summer School on mediation skills for leaders, we reflected on the learning from Rio. We watched a video replay of the men’s taekwondo -80kg final in which Team GB’s Lutalo Muhammad lost to his Ivory…

If Brexit were an ancient Greek tragedy, David Cameron would be the tragic hero. I woke up early on 24 June to see a barometer on the BBC website slightly tipped towards Leave, and then to watch the rest of the votes come in until the text below the barometer stated that there could be…

This blog is a further reflection on the implications of Brexit, viewed from a Scottish perspective. There are at least four possible outcomes for Scotland’s constitutional future. One, Scotland as wholly independent, neither in the UK nor in the EU. Two, as an independent nation within the EU. Three, as a constituent part of a…