It’s not always easy to spot trends. But one that I have noticed over the last year or two is an increase in the number of cases I am being asked to mediate in which litigation or arbitration proceedings have not yet been issued.
This produces different challenges. On the upside:
• The parties have not had years in which to entrench themselves in the unerring rightness of their cause, nor the irredeemable evil of their opponents. We have all seen the effect that many years of commitment to a particular position can have. Trying to encourage any other perspective after so long can be hard.
• The parties are generally less heavily invested in the case after a shorter time. Thi [...]
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 John of England and the Barons who challenged his authority, and it established for the first time that everyone, including the king, was subject to the law*.
Interestingly, and less well-known, this deal was mediated. Archbishop Stephen Langton stepped into the role, holding separate talks with each side to hear their grievances, and ultimately bringing them together [...]
Of course, parties who choose to resolve cross-border disputes by way of mediation are free to develop their own bespoke rules of engagement as they might in their domestic mediations via a comprehensive mediation agreement (ad hoc mediation) – however, and although there are cost implications, parties to international mediations usually perceive real benefits in adopting a tried and true process administered by a respected and often global ADR provider (administered mediation).
Many parti [...]
The UK Government seeks to implement “the most significant family justice system reforms in a generation.” In late August it published ‘A Brighter Future for Family Justice’ report, and announced a new program of free mediation sessions for separating couples.
It comes as no surprise that this issue is attracting political attention. The statistics speak for themselves: 42% of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce. More than 236,000 people divorced in 2012. Almost half (48%) of divorces involve children under 16 years. On the other hand, the empirical data prove the effectiveness of mediation. Last year nearly two thirds of couples who attended a single mediation session for [...]
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 [...]
The recent publication of a study conducted for the European Parliament on Mediation, “Rebooting the Mediation Directive,” has contributed to the ongoing debate about effective mediation policy. I am the coordinator of that Study, whose results were based on 816 questionnaires completed by respondents from the 28 member states of the EU.
The Study determined that mediation in the EU is still the “Sleeping Beauty” I first heard about when I decided to enter this field 20 years ago. Despite many decades of stagnation, renewed enthusiasm and repeated efforts to revive her, the consensus seems to be that our princess is more than just asleep. The Study concluded that unless “elements o [...]
So, dear Readers,
This time last year I was telling you about new mediation initiatives in Hong Kong. Well, this year I hope to send you into the festive season with some very exciting news from Singapore.
On 3 December 2013, Singapore’s Ministry of Law unveiled key initiatives to transform and develop its international commercial mediation sector. Based on recommendations of a Working Group established in April 2013 by Singapore’s Chief Justice and the Ministry, the recommendations include the establishment of two new independent mediation entities: a new professional mediation body (the “Singapore International Mediation Institute”), and a new international mediation service provi [...]
From the Samoan Observer 28 August 2013
Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asue Falefatu Sapolu yesterday launched Samoa’s Mediation Rules 2013 during a gathering at the Samoa Tourism Authority (STA) fale.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi was among Cabinet Ministers and senior government officials present. Also present was the Speaker of the House, La’auli Leuatea Polata’ivao as well as members of the judiciary. His Honour Patu said the launch yesterday was a significant milestone for Samoa.
“Mediation is something very new but very old in Samoa,” he said. “Mediation has many similarities with the traditional Samoan way of settling disputes through the village [...]
While these mediations are commercial at heart, they beat with a cultural pulse and there is a sense of majesty as the Crown sits down to kōrero with Iwi … gather around, for the history of the real Middle Earth is not one of hobbits and magical rings, but of a people struggling to coexist in a far flung corner of the New World.
The Treaty of Waitangi was a written agreement made in 1840 between the British Crown and more than 500 New Zealand Māori chiefs. After that, New Zealand became a colony of Britain and Māori became British subjects.
Today the Treaty is considered to be New Zealand’s founding document.
It was drafted in English and then translated into Māori and it was pre [...]
The Law No. 29/2013, which entered into force on 20 May 2013, lays down the general principles applicable to mediation in Portugal. There are many reasons to believe that mediation could develop faster than before on the Europe’s West Coast. Fans of fado (a distinctly Portuguese music genre, well known for its artistic refinement and emotiveness) will agree that there are not too many nations that are able to express their feelings in a comparable way. Some historical examples of peaceful confict resolution in Portugal (to start with the Treaty of Tordesillas) are also unique. Therefore despite the current economic crisis, there are hopes for a brighter future, with a greater role for ADR.[...]