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…

“Patients don’t expect doctors to be perfect. They do expect them to strive for perfection by opening up their work to scrutiny” Atul Gawande, Desert Island Discs, BBC Radio 4, 6/12/15. A bit of a treat for me last week, when four of my favourite academics came to Edinburgh. They were keynotes at Mediate Scotland…

This question emerges from a recent three-way Skype conversation with a couple of mediation colleagues, in anticipation of a US-sponsored conference on ADR, to be held in Brazil later this year. As it transpired, the predominant interest of the conference was and is on arbitration rather than mediation, so that conversation has taken a longer…

My wife and I recently spent a very convivial evening at the beautiful home in Sydney of leading Australian mediator Alan Limbury and his wife, Dr. Rosemary Howell, who coaches a team from the University of New South Wales in the annual ICC mediation competition. One topic which stimulated some forthright conversation was the use…

The recent blog entry by Matthew Rushton (23 August) is a reminder of what changes can and do happen across the diverse landscape of mediation, and of the ways in which the “classical” model of mediation is probably as much a fond memory as it is a consistent practice. In both practice and training, we’ve…

This year in the UK we are celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, or “Great Charter”. Signed in 1215, it remains one of the most famous documents in the world, and central to the British constitution. In mediator parlance, it is a “settlement agreement”. It came into being as a compromise between King…

There is by far no other nation that would contribute to European civilisation with such an enormous portion and that would be so easily forgotten as the Etruscans. According to some authors, their influence to nowadays’ Europe culture is at least comparable to that one of Romans or Greeks. And yet, how many people enjoying…

I have never been a great fan of mediator’s proposals. I took the view that the mediator’s job, done well, was to help the parties to come to a solution themselves. Party autonomy and all that. Achieving a satisfactory outcome, I thought, shouldn’t require a specific suggestion by the mediator. I have changed my view….

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,…