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…

Despite some scepticism about the value of “roleplay” most mediation training involves asking people to run a pretend mediation session. I’ve tried various euphemisms to ease trainees’ anxiety – “skills practice”, “simulation”, “sitting with conflict” – but none seems to make it any less daunting. You can read about this activity, watch others do it,…

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  Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised by the whole Brexit affair. I’m not talking about the result of the vote itself, but about the referendum process, the behaviour it engendered, and its aftermath. All the classic features were present. Classic features of what? Well, of binary processes. Those that offer a win/lose, yes/no, remain/leave…

“Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar” “Traveller, there is no path, the path must be forged as you walk.” Antonio Machado, as quoted and translated in Daring Greatly, Brene Brown Those were two very long and eventful days. Though the prospect of reaching an agreement appeared remote – at best – at…

[A talk given at the recent “100 cases” event in Glasgow to celebrate two years of small claims mediation provided by Strathclyde Mediation Clinic. Judges in Scotland are known as “sheriffs”.] I’ve been rather enjoying my belated return to the small claims court. Like a kind of slow theatre, each Friday afternoon unfolds with impeccable…

Three recent mediations in three jurisdictions raised some interesting issues.  Each mediation was different. One involved a claim for professional negligence against a firm of solicitors for (allegedly) incorrectly including an occupied building in the sale of a large piece of land. The sellers were unhappy that many years had elapsed since the transaction, a number of them passing while…

In 1861, the then Secretary to the Education Department, Robert Lowe, addressed the UK House of Commons on the pressing matter of elementary education, in particular on the linked questions of access to education, funding, and quality. His proposal was to introduce a system of “payment for results”, designed both to limit the costs of…