“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…

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…

research

Sometimes we have to ask probing questions. Does mediation do any good? Does it make the world a better place? Is there more or less peace in our societies because of our work? This sort of research question exercises scholars and academics, but practitioners too want to believe their work makes a difference. A related…

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…

This blog synthesises some remarks I have made recently to policy-makers in Scotland. As I reflect on things, there are a lot of issues in the civil justice system in my country which remain of interest and concern. Not least, the number of ordinary folk caught up in the court system, paying a lot of…

plainenglish

A few months ago I painted a not-terribly-flattering picture of Scottish justice as experienced by small claimants – (Oiling the Wheels of the Justice System). Seen through the eyes of a mediator (and ex-lawyer) the language, practices and architecture seem calculated to confuse those most in need of assistance and clarity like unrepresented parties and…

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…

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…

brexit

When I was shopping at the Marina Bay Sands Mall in Singapore some couple months ago, a young Singaporean approached me and politely asked me to participate in a survey. “Where are you from?” the girl stated her first question. “From Prague, Czech Republic…” She smiled and her view gave away her confusion. Obviously, she…