New Appointment for John Sturrock

News from Scotland that our colleague John Sturrock QC has been appointed by the Scottish Government to conduct a review into allegations of bullying at NHS Highland. This short life inquiry will continue alongside his mediation work in London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Dublin and internationally.

As well as his extensive commercial experience, John has worked at high levels on industrial and organisational management issues, in addition to his involvement in domestic and inter-governmental policy and political strategies.

On his NHS Highland appointment, John comments

These are difficult and sensitive issues. I know from my work as a mediator how important it is to listen to people’s concerns. My primary role, therefore, is to provide a safe and confidential place for people to be heard and to explore with them what the underlying issues might be

Read more here

Following the publication of the recent report on mediation in England and Wales by the CJC ADR Working Group chaired by Brick Court’s Bill Wood, John Sturrock has also taken on a similar role in Scotland where he has been appointed co-chair of a major review into mediation there.

John’s recent blog on the role of mediators in the political space here

CJC ADR Working Group Final Report

The ADR working group of the Civil Justice Council has published its final report.

Highlights include stopping short of recommending a ‘presumption’ that parties will agree to alternative dispute resolution as a condition for issuing proceedings (that is, no mandatory mediation) and setting up a Judicial/ADR liaison committee.

The Master of the Rolls, Sir Terence Etherton said ‘The working group is to be commended on producing an impressive report that proposes a number of reforms to the current system’.

Brick Court’s Bill Wood QC and Chair of the Working Group:

We have done our best to set out what seem to us the most promising options for the future. We are particularly pleased that our proposal for continuing liaison between judges and ADR professionals is already being acted upon by the Master of the Rolls

CJC ADR Working Group Report

Congratulations to William Wood QC who won the Mediator of the Year at the 2018 Who’s Who Legal Awards in London, Tuesday evening this week.

Well done Bill! Tremendous recognition for a job well done.

Full details can be found here.

http://brickcourtmediators.co.uk/445-2/

Phexit: A Beginner’s Guide

Watch out all London insurance dispute specialists! It turns out it is not only the financiers of Dublin. Frankfurt and Paris who are relishing current opportunities.

When the American Bar Association’s Insurance Litigation Section meets in Tucson Arizona on 1st March delegates will be offered a number of fascinating break-out discussions (including one on timely notification of claims with the irresistible title It’s Too Late Baby, Now It’s Too Late).

But the eye-catcher is this one scheduled for 12.05pm:

Breakout: “PHEXIT”: Why Policyholders May Pull Out of Britain and Why London May Be at Risk of Losing Its Grip on Insurance Coverage Arbitrations

Phexit. You heard it here first.

Mediation and Innovation

One of the great things about mediation is that it enables you to be creative and to try new things. Not that long ago, I had four innovations occur in one mediation day.

Firstly, on the technological front, I found myself without a flip chart in the first plenary meeting in the main room. However, I was able to make use of my new micro projector (Phillips PicoPix) which attaches to my iPad, permitting me to simulate a flip chart using the Penultimate digital drawing app. Carefully removing a picture from the wall and projecting onto the wall gave me real flexibility to note and illustrate things as we went along, throughout that meeting, while remaining seated with the parties. Quite different from standing with a marker pen in hand.

The next two innovations came at the end as the agreement was being drawn up. The first was the inclusion at my suggestion of a modification of Collaborative Scotland’s Commitment to Respectful Dialogue: https://collaborativescotland.org/respectfuldialogue/. Having had some tense communications recently which affected their ability to make decisions, this gave the parties, a number of company directors, a benchmark for behaviour going forward. They would need to adhere to it of course.

Then the parties suggested that I, as mediator, be appointed to chair the next board meeting of the company as they waited for a new non-executive chairman to be found. For the first time for me, my tenure as mediator was to be extended in this specific way. This would enable me to continue to facilitate a difficult situation between partners who had been at loggerheads but who had a very exciting technological development to take to market.

Finally, after the important ritual of the signing of the final agreement, I was able to read from an article I had just come across in Time magazine. It was a summary of a year in space by American astronaut, Scott Kelly. I read these passages: “I’ve learned ….that small steps add up to a giant leap…. I’ve learned how important it is to sit and eat with other people” (as I often suggest to parties that we should do, we had had breakfast together that morning, breaking the ice). “I’ve learned a new empathy for other people, including people I don’t know, people I don’t like and people I disagree with. I’ve started letting people know I appreciate them, which can sometimes freak them out at first. It’s a bit out of character. But it’s something I’m glad to have learned to do and hope to keep doing.”

The key players laughed for the first time that day. They got the point.