As a practising Barrister I specialise in Will, Inheritance, Probate, and Trust disputes.
I passed the Mediator training course provided by the Bar Council 30.07.2021, with a score of 96% on the exam. In order to become a member of the Society of Mediators (i.e. as a panel member), then within 12 months, I need to complete three observations of a Zoom mediation involving any mediator. To cut my teeth and gain flying hours, from October, I will volunteer for internet County Court Mediations in relation to: will; probate; trust; property; business; and contract disputes.
Until I have completed all of my observations I can hold myself out as a qualified non-panel Mediator. My ambition is to become a panel member of the Society of Mediators in London, which I am working towards. Completing the course is only the first step in a long journey to develop skills as a mediator – learning first by watching and then by doing, and I will not be doing any mediations until I have become a panel member with the Society of Mediators.
As a a matter of policy and choice, I will only act as a Mediator if the value of a dispute is within the limit of my PI cover which I increased in 2021. My target market is disputes below £2 million.
Anecdotally, I had the great privilege of meeting with the late Professor Roger Fisher for two hours in his study at Harvard Law School during an academic visit from King’s College London in 2002, and his parting advice was,
‘Appreciate their point of view:
- understand it – it’s very important to appreciate the way they see it,
- even if you don’t agree, say that it merits serious consideration, don’t say that they are wrong.
Appreciate their self-esteem.
Acknowledge that the other person has been heard.
Be prepared to argue their case better than they can before you answer it.’
By the end of the Bar Council Mediator Training Course, I understood the wisdom that Professor Fisher (co-author of ‘Getting to Yes’ and a founding Father of principled negotiation) had imparted to me.
The secret or acme of mediation is authenticity, empathy, and active listening (without making matters worse!), which develops trust and enables the Mediator to create a safe space into which the participants feel empowered to enter and start a conversation that can lead to a solution of their own design and making, i.e. to a ‘deal’ that they own. This requires counter-intuitive thinking and behaviour, and is a lot harder to actually do than you might think.
The art and metier of Facilitative Mediation can be used to solve almost any kind of dispute, and does not require any legal, economic, business, social, political, or diplomatic knowledge and subject-matter expertise/experience by the Mediator. What it requires is skill in managing a process.
At the end of our meeting Professor Fisher went up to his bookshelf and handed me a copy of his book ‘Beyond Machiavelli’ which he inscribed, ‘To Carl – Another set of ideas!’
It is one of my greatest treasures.
Meanwhile, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jonathan Dingle and all of his colleagues at the Faculty for delivering the challenging, exhausting and brilliant course they put us all through this week, which involved 14 hour work a day. I can now sleep for a few hours!
While my primary focus is on mediation of will, inheritance, probate, and trust disputes, after I have completed my Art Law Diploma (which I am aiming to complete by July 2022), I also plan to develop the ‘facilitative’ Mediation of Art and Cultural Heritage Disputes as a niche practice area, and to write and talk about the subject.
Mediation is the norm in both Art and Cultural Heritage Disputes, see the ‘Mediation of Art & Cultural Heritage Disputes’ page of my website:
As Judith B. Prowda observes in her leading text book, ‘Visual Art And The Law’ (2013) at page 240,
‘Creative solutions may be obtained in mediation by exploring each party’s interests, including non-monetary concerns. Mediation may result in a more satisfying outcome for the parties than a court decision, which is limited to the matter before it, not in enabling options for the parties.’
For more information about my future Mediation services please visit: www.carlislam.co.uk
See also my blogs:
The English court can order mediation where a party does not consent – The English court can order mediation where a party does not consent | Carl’s Wealth Planning Blog