I am delighted to, once again, be recognised in the 2017 Legal 500 as a top band mediator. I like the fact that I have been described as having a ‘mediation approach [that is] is focused on building relationships, …..’ As my loyal followers will know I have always placed an emphasis on relationships, which I wrote about in my article: Behind Every dispute lies a broken relationship
Relationships are something I have always been passionate about and I have written many papers with that theme in mind. On my mediator website Papers are available to read and the majority centre around the many differing forms of relationships that are built in the mediation process.There are many dynamics which are integral to relationships and how to avoid, manage and resolve disputes is one.
Seven of us in The Dispute Resolution Partnership are writing a book on How to Avoid, Manage and Resolve Disputes, due to be published by Bloomsbury Professional next Spring. I love writing but it is quite a challenge to find blocks of time, so that there is continuity and progress, and still be mediating and occasionally training. I have tried several methods – every Friday (but continuity is difficult), every morning and do business in the afternoon (but there are always interruptions and urgent emails to answer); the most successful is spending a week (or so) in Italy (but even then the sun on the terrace is too inviting and having a siesta too tempting). My production is generally around 2500 words a half-day so, with my allocation being around 80,000 words of a 180,000 word book, that is 32 days writing. I had better go on retreat!
Another crucial way of building relationships is by spending time with people.
The September BIMA (Belief in Mediation and Arbitration) Dialogue – we hold a scripture-based discussion alternate months – was about Charity. How the three major faiths (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) teach and practice charity. I was quite shocked, when using my Concordance, that the Good News Bible only has two mentions of the word ‘charity’, and neither of those were helpful to the discussion! Of course, the Jewish and Christian religions share a common foundation so there are great similarities, particularly on matters such as tithing (giving a percentage of income away). The basis of charity in all three religions is helping others and the best form is helping in secret, with good grace, with love and without fear or expectation of return and in a way that retains a persons dignity and self-respect. It is easy to assume that charity means giving money but all three religions recognise the giving of time, hospitality, even a smile is charity.
The next Dialogue is on 25th November and the topic will be ‘Just War’. I have been nominated to lead it – ironic as my father was killed in WW2.