In 2011, a computer gained fame as a celebrity. Its name was Watson*, of IBM. This was right after taking part in a very popular Q&A show on American TV (Jeopardy), in which Watson, with its ability to understand our language using only information recorded in its memory, and working offline, managed to successfully overcome…

On the face of it clarity and certainty would always appear to be preferable to ambiguity, in order that people know where they stand and can plan and act accordingly. However, in a recent article Fintan O’Toole reflected on the position of Northern Ireland in the Brexit negotiations and concluded: “…stopping the violence meant creating…

Minor sport arbitration was heading towards rendering of an award which none of the parties would have been happy about. And then, arbitrator proposed a mediation window and asked the football coach: “OK, then… What do you really need? Surely not the small amount of money you are claiming?” After a moment of hesitation, claimant…

The U.K.’s decision to leave the EU and the voting in of the protectionist Donald Trump to the US presidency has drawn both the UK and the USA into the Nash Trap. U.S. mathematician John Nash (the movie ‘A Beautiful Mind’) postulated that Adam Smith’s declaration that ‘In competition, individual ambition serves the common good’…

Savvy litigators often tell their clients that “a bad settlement always beats a good litigation”. That may be partly because there is embarrassingly scant guidance in the literature, or even in the world’s law schools, on how lawyers can help their clients settle well rather than badly. I recently had the honor of writing the…

Students demonstrating cooperation

Morton Deutsch, the great social psychologist of common sense, explained the difference between competition and cooperation thus: “if you’re positively linked with another, then you sink or swim together; with negative linkage, if the other sinks, you swim, and if the other swims, you sink.”1)Cooperation and Competition. In M. Deutsch, P. T. Coleman, & E….

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…

The decision today of the UK High Court, that the government cannot trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and begin formal exit negotiations with the EU without approval of Parliament, is a setback for the UK prime minister Theresa May. Given the further entrenchment of opposing positions in light of this judgment, Michael Leathes’ recent…

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….