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The Singapore Mediation Lecture 2014

The Singapore Mediation Lecture 2014 was delivered on 26 September 2014 by Mr. Brad Berenson, the Vice President and Senior Counsel for Litigation and Legal Policy of General Electric. The third lecture in this series, the Singapore Mediation Lecture is a result of a partnership between the Singapore Mediation Centre, the Singapore Management University School of Law and Harry Elias Partnership. Previous speakers were the former president of Singapore, Mr. S R Nathan (2012) and Lord Woolf (2013).

The title of the lecture was “The Mediation Imperative: Why Successful Companies Embrace Mediation”. I do not propose to reproduce the speech here. The speech will be published in the Asian Jou [...]

Mediation Magic

I believe that by now you all had enough of my comments on the 2014 FIFA World Cup. So let’s move on to other aspects of life.

Last month, IBA’s Mediation Committee organized a regional meeting in Brazil in order to discuss the latest trends in Commercial Mediation. The event was supported by Veirano Law Firm, one of the most prestigious Firms in Brazil, and was attended by several lawyers, in house counsels and members of the public sector, some of them hearing about mediation for the first time. In addition to being a great success, the event could be seen as another small step towards increasing the general awareness level of Commercial Mediation in the country.

Although I could pr [...]

Harvesting data to shape the future of international dispute resolution

Co-authored by Deborah Masucci and Michael Leathes, International Mediation Institute

Among the early words of wisdom expressed by Sherlock Holmes in the first of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s 56 novels, A Scandal in Bohemia in 1891, was this classic line:

I never guess. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.

And so it is with dispute resolution. There is a paucity of reliable statistics out there to enable users of dispute resolution services, as well as advisers, providers, educators, adjudicators and policymakers, to understand how best to prepare and steer ourselves for the future. [...]

The Scottish Referendum: Torture for a Mediator

Saltire and union flag

Five days from now Scotland may be on its way to becoming the world’s newest country. Or it may not. Just over four million of us will vote on September 18th to determine future political arrangements on the British Isles (affecting some sixty million others). Depending on your point of view, you might say with Dickens: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

The best of times: there is a tremendous energy about the place; the world’s media (even England’s) has descended; people are debating in families, pubs, cafes and street corners; there is a surge in national pride; poets, singers and artists are dreaming dreams of a better world.

The worst of times: there is h [...]

The Scottish Referendum: Torture for a Mediator

Saltire and union flag

Five days from now Scotland may be on its way to becoming the world’s newest country. Or it may not. Just over four million of us will vote on September 18th to determine future political arrangements on the British Isles (affecting some sixty million others). Depending on your point of view, you might say with Dickens: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

The best of times: there is a tremendous energy about the place; the world’s media (even England’s) has descended; people are debating in families, pubs, cafes and street corners; there is a surge in national pride; poets, singers and artists are dreaming dreams of a better world.

The worst of times: ther [...]

Getting to Yes…or No?!

On Thursday 4 September, Collaborative Scotland hosts a Day of Dialogue which will focus on respect and reconciliation in the lead up to, and after, the independence referendum in Scotland on 18 September. It is not about Yes and No but how we will live and work together regardless of the outcome of the referendum.

Conversationalists include David Melding, the deputy presiding officer of the Welsh Assembly, Conservative politician, and author of Reforming the Union: Britain as a Federation, who will address the wider constitutional issues in the British Isles with Conor Murphy, a Sinn Fein MP and influential figure in Northern Ireland politics. At lunchtime, Douglas Alexander, MP, shadow fo [...]

The Physical Dimension of Mediation: lessons from Africa

Different_kinds_of_bows_in_eo

I have written before on this blog about ‘mediating from the neck up’: my conviction that I was taught (and teach) a rationalistic, even cerebral, process that privileges thought over emotion and language over movement (see http://kluwermediationblog.com/2013/12/13/mediating-from-the-neck-up/ ).
As I acknowledged at the time, having this insight and doing something about it are two quite different propositions. How in practice do we mediate with the whole person?

Last week I witnessed a startling illustration of the power of the physical realm in our work. Strathclyde Law School (Glasgow, Scotland) runs an annual mediation summer school with John Marshall Law School (Chicago, Illinois) [...]

It only takes a few moments……

It was just a few moments. “You can’t play on our course without proper golf shoes.” “But we played here two days ago in these shoes.” “My colleague must have made a mistake”. “But it was you who let us play…”. “It’s in our rules.” “Where?” “Here.” “No it’s not. There is nothing about soft spikes. Only shirts with collars…”

Those few moments remain seared on my brain. Out of the window went respect and courtesy. The trigger had been triggered. After a futile exchange, we grudgingly accepted the starter’s offer of golf shoes to wear, free of charge. And then there was the “you must have a bag each” rule. On a hotel 9-hole course? Forgive me but [...]

“To See Ourselves as Others See Us”: the surprising potential of Online Dispute Resolution

Many of us have been hearing about Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) for years but haven’t quite got round to using it. It sounds like a nice idea when face-to-face mediation isn’t an option through distance and/or cost. And yet I suspect that for most mediators the ‘gold standard’ is being in the same room as our clients. We can see people, hear them, feel the emotional temperature; we can also speak, use our eyes, use our hands; even jump to our feet when things get stuck. A small screen, by contrast, seems flat, miniature and limited.

However, if precedent is anything to go by, it would be foolish to bet against the forward march of technology. The first PCs were large, expensi [...]

The Rise and Fall of Tension

Tension Raising Behaviours;

100% statements

Labelling

Put downs and excitable statements

Threats

Interpreting/analysing/patronising/matronising

Collecting allies

Non-verbal behaviours

Preparing an attack

Sarcasm

Defensiveness/self justifying

Over detailing

Tension Reducing Behaviours;

Acknowledging probable legitimate concerns

Put in perspective

Be specific

Own the interpretation

Own the personal response

Invite feedback

Invite response

[...]