The latest on Core news and events, including recent mediations

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May 2015


Upcoming Courses and Events

Recent Blogs

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Margaret Mead


Some Learning Points from Recent Mediations

"What's been going on in recent mediations", asked a colleague. "Any highlights?"
The trouble with doing anything on a regular basis is that you can omit to reflect on the learning from each occasion. So here are some takeaways from the past few weeks:
  1. Bringing the principals/decision-makers together for an early conversation. There is usually great benefit in this. If they have met before, this renews that acquaintance in a difficult yet private forum. If they haven't met, they have an opportunity to get to know each other as individuals, not names on emails or contracts. They set the scene for what is, after all, their day. And, crucially, it provides a set of reference points for later stage negotiations when only they can do what needs to be done.
  2. Involving experts. A fascinating topic. On one occasion, we had two experts explain to each other why they differed, in front of one lawyer and one decision-maker for each party, along with the mediator who could ask some of those "daft laddie" questions that only a mediator can. On another occasion an expert who was an inventor of a high tech application explained to the full assembled crowd what his invention entailed. In yet another matter, with the consent of his side, one expert effectively assumed the role of an independent third party, offering guidance to both parties. 
  3. Bridging the gap. After several hours of mediation, only a few thousand pounds separated the parties. But the principals could not make that final move. Extra value had to be found. That was achieved by a skillful lawyer who recognised that another stakeholder had an interest in the dispute ending. On another occasion the gap was many hundreds of thousands. Here, the money as such was not the defining issue but trust and realism were needed to bring about a resolution. The principles needed to meet to test each other out in person.
  4. Preparation in advance. It is good to encourage the lawyers to work collaboratively beforehand. That may take a number of meetings, emails or telephone calls, to help them jettison some baggage from past dealings or overcome positional starting points. Most however are courteous and professional from the outset. Given specific tasks and the goal of helping each other to help their respective clients, they can move the process forward significantly before the mediation day itself. 
Interested in reading more about mediation? Subscribe to John Sturrock's blog. 

On Training to Become a Mediator

Andrew Taylor shares his recent experience of Core's Flagship course, Spring 2015.
"I am a solicitor in private practice specialising in civil litigation with particular interests in construction law and employment law. I attended Core’s eight day Mediation, Negotiation and Conflict Management Skills Course during March and April this year. It is the best training course I have been on in twenty years, and well worth the price. John Sturrock and his fellow trainers (Charlie Woods, Hugh Donald and Liz Rivers) ably assisted by Jolene Robinson (course organizer and role player) were outstanding. They were extremely knowledgeable, helpful and willing to share their experiences for the course attendees’ benefit. There was much to be learned, and I believe much was learned to the benefit of all. Notably, the attendees included not only lawyers (from both the private and public sectors) but NHS managers, management consultants and business owners.  

I am convinced that Mediation is the future of ADR and, in my opinion, in many cases a better alternative to litigation. This course must be one of the best ways to learn about Mediation and its benefits whilst also obtaining accreditation. I am sure that my fellow attendees would join with me in thanking John and the others for a genuine learning experience which was also a lot of fun."

Learn more about Core's Flagship Course here.

Upcoming Courses and Events 

The Challenge of Climate Change

Multi-Party Dialogue: the Challenge of Climate Change

Looking Ahead in Hope?

The general election will be over but the issue of climate change remains. As we head for the vital COP 21 conference in Paris in December, how do we engage diverse groups in a meaningful discussion about the significant issues that global warming and a low carbon future raise?

On 28 and 29 May, Core is hosting two unique events to address this challenge with special guest John Ashton CBE. John was a senior diplomat and former Special Representative for Climate Change at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He is now a freelance and (very) inspiring writer and speaker on climate change and other social and economic issues.

Details follow

Thursday, 28 May | 7.00 - 10.00 pm

Dinner and Conversation

Hosted by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland
Venue: Mansion House, Edinburgh Zoo

John Sturrock in conversation with John Ashton

Is pursuing our present economic system fundamentally in contradiction with addressing the man-made causes of climate change?

The question of the age? How do we talk about it?

60 places available at special price of £39.50 plus VAT. 

RSVP here

Friday, 29 May | 8.30 am - 4.00 pm

Multi-Party Dialogue

Sponsored by ClimateXChange and the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation

Venue: Dovecot Studios, 10 Infirmary Street, Edinburgh

Join us for a fast-flowing, interactive day of group discussion and provocative insights on the topics of climate change and carbon reduction and the relationship with economic and social policies.

The question of the age? How do we talk about it?

Featuring special guest John Ashton and hosted by John Sturrock

Register here

Provisional Contributors

 John Ashton on economic and social issues
Eolene Boyd Macmillan (University of Cambridge, conflict management specialist)  on neuro-psychological aspects
Graeme Dickson (Director-General Enterprise Environment & Innovation, Scottish Government) on the response of government
Oliver Escobar (University of Edinburgh) on community decision-making
Dr Andy Kerr (Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation) on carbon reduction
Ragne Low (ClimateXChange) on how research informs domestic policy action
Jill Vickerman (Scottish Secretary of the British Medical Association) on implications for health care
Mark Wagner (energy conservation specialist and chairman of Isentropic) on energy conservation and climate modelling
Chris West (Chief Executive of Royal Zoological Society) on species loss

For those attending who can afford to make a contribution, we would kindly ask for a donation of £25. 

If interested in attending either the dinner or dialogue, please register here or contact Jolene Robinson.

Nelson Mandela shakes hands with South Africas president Frederik W de Klerk, who he succeeded, in 1992. Photo courtesy The Scotsman.

Proper Debate is Worth Talking About



CONSIDERABLE attention has been paid to the justice minister’s response to Lord Bonomy’s review of the proposed abolition of the law on corroboration in criminal trials. This has eclipsed comments made the previous week by the Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Carloway, who initiated the proposal, about opponents to proposed changes in the law....

Read full article from The Scotsman 

Business Insider

New Routes to Resolution Emerge

"....mediation fits very well with a general cultural shift in the business of problem solving and early prevention of issues....there is a sea-change under way throughout the commercial and professional world towards a much more collaborative approach that means there is a significant scope for more use of mediation."

"as well as helping resolve disputes, mediation is increasingly being used to help facilitate better business relationships to prevent issues developing in the first place. 'We have been asked to get involved at the early stages of businesses establishing join or collaborative ventures, to help firms finalise contracts or to nip potential shareholder issues in the bud.'"
Read the full article

The superb Blair Estate

Residential Summer School: Using Mediation Skills as a Leader*

*also Module One of Core's Flagship Mediation Course
Dates: Sunday 30 August – Wednesday 2 September 

Venue: At the superb Blair Estate, 20 minutes from Glasgow Airport

Early Bird Deadline is 15 May!
Details and Registration
This Summer School is designed for leaders and others who have leadership roles or the aspiration to become leaders.

Mediation skills lie at the heart of all that we do. Today’s leaders need to be skilled in enabling others to understand and explore the underlying issues, to develop and assess all the options, and to reach policy and other decisions which will really add value. These are the essence of good mediation too. Learn about how mediators work at the highest levels to help others to manage and resolve really tough situations.

As an option, use this experience to go on and achieve accreditation in our Mediator Competency and Assessment Modules
Details and Registration
Places at the Summer School and subsequent modules limited to 16. 

Early Bird rates available.

Please don't hesitate to contact Jolene Robinson at 0131 524 8188 if you'd like to discuss. 

Master Class: Gaining an Edge as a Negotiator

Hosted by John Sturrock, senior mediator and chief executive
Monday, 18 May | 13.30 (sandwich lunch) - 17.00
Topics and Registration

"Rarely do you get to be on a course with a facilitator who has such a broad range of knowledge and experience and is able to apply it in such a skilful, relevant and tactful manner".

UK government senior civil servant | 2014 workshop participant 

Limited to 30 places at £137.50 plus VAT each; 2 places from a firm or organisation at £237.50 plus VAT total. 

2020 Climate Change Group Blog

Reflections on the Current Climate

What should we say?

I started this piece a couple of weeks ago with these words: “From my balcony at nearly 2,000 metres, I can see seven vapour trails above, and as I look to the west, several more.....

Read More

Recent Blogs


Dealing with Apparent Intransigence

I have been reflecting on how we, as mediators, deal with the seemingly implacable hurt, anger and frustration we sometimes find in mediations, where people can appear willing to bring a whole enterprise down...

Read More

Mediating Culture

There was an interesting exchange among some international mediators recently about the culture of negotiation in south-east Asia and how, as a mediator, one copes with different cultures. It occurred to me that we need to be careful not to see culture as merely a geographical, religious or national feature...

Read More

The Final Word

“What made it easier for me in the last two decades was the ability to know that there are five categories of truth. And all of them are not the same. So there are my truth and your truth, our truth and their truth, and there is also is the truth. The mistake you will do as a mediator is to ask everybody to align to your truth. One thing we promote, besides letting everybody sticking to their own truth, is to move beyond tolerance”.

Imam Muhammed Ashafa, co-director of the Interfaith Mediation Centre of the Muslim-Christian Dialogue in Kaduna State, Northern Nigeria, at the recent conference in Bucharest of Mediators Beyond Borders.
Follow us on twitter at @Core__Solutions, and also follow John Sturrock a@coremediation.

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