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….

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,…

To the extent that a mediator’s job involves listening to people complain and engage in negative behaviour, mediators face a serious mental health hazard. Research shows that listening to ongoing negativity impairs the brain function of the listener. Yes! Listening can be bad for you if you have a whinging party in the room, and…

I. Introduction The mediation of insurance and risk transfer disputes involves interpretation of contracts and insurance policies, challenging legal issues, and the interests of multiple stakeholders. Such mediations are not just a matter of exchanging numbers. For parties, how do you advocate your position while, at the same time, exploring settlement? For a mediator, how…

Talking to Dr Gilbert Wong Senior Superintendent, Commanding Officer, Police Negotiation Cadre, Hong Kong Walking into Gilbert Wong’s office is like stumbling into Aladdin’s Cave – a treasure trove of memories and stories of his 21 years in the Hong Kong Police Force. Amongst his library of books on crisis negotiation, psychology, counselling, psychotherapy and…

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves. . . Do not now look for the answers. . . At present you need to live the question.” Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet At the heart of the idea of mediation is the aim of…

Next week I am going to interview one of Hong Kong’s leading police negotiators, Dr Gilbert Wong, Commanding Officer of the Police Negotiation Cadre (PNC). When I first emailed with Gilbert, I was struck by the signature line of his email: “Who Cares Wins”. While it could be a mediator’s tagline, it is in fact,…

Story telling and humor are among the essential tools in any mediator’s kit. Of course, when it comes to humor, mediators learn early in their career that the self-deprecating variety is usually the safest choice. This turns out to be quite good for me since in my life there is no shortage of material to…