Reflecting on: Tammy Lemski- Weaving the narrative of a conflict.

Tammy Lenski is one of my favourite mediation bloggers and this is a wonderful reflection of hers on conflict narratives and how they are constructed. She talks about conflict taking root in the space between our narrative about what happened and the other person's narrative. The article talks about Elizabeth Gilbert's book tour of Eat, Pray, Love and an experience with a fan. One way of understanding conflict resolution is the act of weaving a new joint narrative, one that includes the most valuable threads in each story. Read the article here. ...

Using your emotional intelligence to advantage in mediation

Sandy Hollis and Deborah Clapshaw Peter Adler1 uses a metaphor about surfing to demonstrate how the more we know, the more aware we become of how little we know and how much more we need to know. He describes four stages of skill development‐ unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence and unconscious competence and applies it to the challenge of riding waves. As he notes, the metaphor and the pathway to mastery apply to most things in life. Lawyers have crossed the great divide from courtroom advocacy to mediation advocacy with enthusiasm and in some cases real sensitivity to the demands of the new forum. There is however a further...

Restorative Justice in Resource Management Prosecutions – a Facilitator’s Perspective

I have been puzzled for some time about the reasons for the slow uptake in the use of restorative justice in resource management prosecutions. The judiciary advocates its use, Judge McElrea in particular publishes regularly on its value, there is a statutory obligation under the Victims Rights Act 2002 for defence counsel and prosecutors to consider its use and conference participants enthuse about it. Yet despite the fact that over 80% of defendants in resource management prosecutions plead guilty, nationally there were only six restorative justice conferences in the period July 2001 to April 2005 and thirteen in the period May 2005 to June 2008. During these...

Lawyers in Negotiation – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

For a mediator, a day in mediation is an enriching experience. It is a privilege to watch parties move from what at first blush, appeared to be an intractable dispute attended by a high level of conflict, to resolution at the mediation table. Everyday in mediation we witness a shift in parties’ understanding of a dispute and in consequence their approach to it. We get to understand a little more about the complexities of the human psyche, what moves and shakes people, what pushes buttons and what has profound impact. Granted some of this may be less than obvious in a more tradtional negotiation about “the money”, but...