ASM PLUS Featured Articles
Critical Thinking from ASM Plus for international cricket – how to improve standards of play without being too critical and focusing on what really matters
By Paul Sandford, Director, ASM Plus As regular readers of ASM Plus blogs will know, as well as being a sports mediator I am an avid follower of test cricket. I have greatly enjoyed following the quite recent hard-fought test match series between England and South...
Family mediation from ASM Plus -Antonia’s estate – A worked example demonstrating how much time and money can be saved using mediation in an inheritance/probate dispute
Peter, Paul, John, Maria and Leroy Jones are siblings. Recently, their mother, Antonia, passed away leaving an estate with an estimated value of £500,000. Most of this sum is tied up in her home which is currently occupied by Maria and Leroy.
A case involving a family company which demonstrates how a facilitated meeting can effectively resolve a significant dispute and save considerable amounts of time and money.
Siblings Hazel and Jo are highly accomplished software experts and computer engineers who set up their own niche company, Prime Solutions Ltd, approximately two years ago. Because neither of them is very good at either management or marketing, a year ago they decided to engage Hazel’s brother-in-law Martin as “director of operations” and gave him a vaguely drafted brief to “sort out the accounting system” and “implement and operate a proper marketing strategy”. Martin was given a generous commission-based remuneration package and a 10% shareholding in the company with an option to purchase further shares.
Family services from ASM Plus- Facilitated meetings and Critical Thinking (CT) – alternatives to family mediation
In many instances, the most effective way to resolve a divorce or separation dispute involving children and finance is to use family mediation. The head of the ASM Plus family team, Austin Chessell is an accomplished family mediator and, as is demonstrated in one of our recent blogs he gets results and saves his clients considerable sums of time and money.
However, mediation is not for everyone and in some instances paying for a sequence of between two and five sessions might not be the best use of limited financial resources. Mediation is generally very effective and does indeed have a 90% success rate but sometimes divorcing or separating couples or possibly those involved in a family company or probate dispute are simply not ready for it and may need a helping hand.
Family Mediation from ASM Plus – in the run-up to the London Divorce Fair (20-22 Feb. 2020) we provide an example of the unique, highly effective service provided by our divorce consultant, Suzy Miller and what she did for a client named Jane.
What Suzy offers to do for all divorcing or separating couples who instruct Albert Square Mediation Plus is to offer an initial complimentary Divorce Navigation discussion session to outline what is involved in the whole process of separation and divorce. The purpose of this is to assist clients and prepare them for what is to come.
Family Mediation from ASM Plus – in the run-up to the London Divorce Fair (20-22 Feb. 2020) we provide an example of a divorce-related mediation successfully mediated by Austin Chessell, the coordinator of the ASM Plus Family Team.
A married couple came to mediation as they had spent tens of thousands of pounds of legal fees and Court hearings costs and wanted to avoid the further legal costs of a final hearing.
They own multiple properties which had already been valued. They had obtained recent mortgage statements and taken tax advice.
Family mediation from ASM Plus – announcing our participation in the first ever Divorce Show – 20-22 February 2020
The divorce show, a landmark event, is taking place at the Hilton London Olympia, 380 Kensington High Street London W14.
Entrance is free and places can be booked via Eventbrite divorce-fair-tickets. Three ASM Plus associates – Austin Chessell who is the convener of the ASM plus family team, Suzy Miller and Russ Shackleton – are attending and will be very pleased to meet with people and explain the unique range of services that we offer.
Mediation and facilitated meetings from ASM Plus – Not so much “The End of a Mission” as “Mission Accomplished in minimal time and at minimal cost
One of the most amusing books I have ever read is “The End of a Mission” a satire by Heinrich Böll. Written in 1968 it takes a swipe not only at the legal and military systems of the Federal Republic of Germany but also many of the characters in the book who are portrayed as narrowminded and deeply conservative.
Critical Thinking (CT) from ASM Plus – How not to run an organisation like a scene from a BBC comedy
Those of us of a certain age will remember the hit TV comedy series “Porridge” featuring Ronnie Barker as the long-term prisoner, Fletcher, and Fulton Mackay as the authoritarian chief warden, Mr Mackay.
In one scene, Mr Mackay is giving an introduction to a new prisoner and utters the immortal words:
What is the purpose of complaints’ procedures? Is it to put things right when they go wrong? Should such procedures be designed to ensure that when things do go wrong, they are addressed promptly, lessons are learned and identified errors are not repeated? Should complaints procedures themselves be monitored and if so by whom?
International Mediation and ADR from ASM Plus – an appreciation of the work done by internationally renowned UK-based charity, Concordis
I recently came across an article in an old copy of a UK weekly freesheet, Shortlist, entitled “Life Lessons from the Frontline”. It was written by a well-travelled war correspondent, James Brabazon, and graphically describes his observations of a number of horrific incidents in various recent armed conflicts. Although this article highlights the involvements of its writer and the difficulties that he had to endure in order to do his job, there is no glorification or self-adulation. Instead, there is considerable emphasis on the utter futility of the various conflicts mentioned in the article and not surprisingly, the tone is pessimistic.
“Mediation works” – a critique of a recent family mediation-oriented piece published by Harvard University Law School and a few additional perspectives.
Mediators repeatedly and quite justifiably emphasise that “mediation works”, that it gets results and that it is time efficient and cost-effective. I frequently emphasise that the mediation success rate is high, some feel as much as 90%. This view is clearly underpinned by the contents of a recent Harvard Law School article, entitled “Mediation: Negotiating a More Satisfactory Divorce” and refers to a study undertaken by a researcher, Rachid Balthazar at the University of Leuven in Belgium. (1)
In a week in which one of the major television networks (in association with the leading UK mental health charity, MIND) has committed to publicising a sequence of promotions and broadcasts on the significance of communication, I somehow found myself recalling the 1980s Spandau Ballet song “communication” which includes the rather negative line “communication brings me down”.
ADR services from ASM PLUS – a demonstration of how both in the short and long term, mediation, facilitated meetings and other forms of ADR really do have long term economic and time saving benefits.
Those who regularly read ASM PLUS blogs will often see references to the use of mediation and facilitated discussions resulting in business people having more time to devote to their work, generating income and being more productive.
Can pain be analysed or objectively measured? This is a question that both litigants, who claim that they have sustained some form of physical or mental health related injury and seek redress, and their lawyers and other advisers often have to address.
How does ASM PLUS help individuals, organisations and businesses prevent disputes arising in the first place or minimise the chances of them recurring? – Facilitated Meetings with the special ingredient of Critical Thinking
In some cases a facilitated meeting will provide a very effective alternative to mediation. Like mediation, it can relieve you from the stress of paperwork and save you considerable amounts of time and money that can be better used. Whereas mediation is normally used for helping disputing parties who have a significant level of disagreement, facilitated meetings in which the parties meet face-to-face are a very good option in circumstances where:
One abiding experience of those who work in the family law sector helping separating and separated couples to resolve their disagreements and move on is that particularly in cases where there has been a lot of acrimony, resentment can linger. All too often, this means that where children are involved, separating or separated parents continue to disagree about important matters such as maintaining regular, workable contact arrangements and which parent will have which child for birthdays, family events, bank holiday weekends and religious festivals.
Most of us make a complaint when we don’t receive good service or there is negligent behaviour on the part of a professional delivering a service to us or our family.
Organisations tend to respond by looking at their processes and the training of staff to encourage a different way of doing things in the future.
All good and appropriate.
Whatever your thoughts on Brxxxx there are some important learning points that we can all use to be more successful in the future.
As a trained mediator and facilitator, the whole scenario playing out in front of our eyes is the best lesson to underline the importance of communication in time of “dispute”.
The various factions in the whole sorry tale (especially on “our” side) are forming themselves into tribes and trying to out-smart one another whether using media, legislation or parliamentary procedure. If only a mediator was overseeing all of this! A skilled listener and communicator with confidential access to all parties could have speeded things up many times over.
Recently I posted a blog on the subject of people telling the truth – or not. When writing it, I looked at the issue of the difference between fact and opinion.
People often blur the two. Phrases that are routinely used in everyday conversation such as “what a lovely day it is today” are expressed authoritatively as fact whereas they are expressions of opinion. Some people may think of “day” in terms of daylight whereas others may be working on the basis of a 24-hour clock. The person who refers to “today” may have got the days mixed up. Another person may equate “lovely” with classic British autumnal weather whereas somebody else may use this word in the context of bright Mediterranean sunshine.
Civil Mediation from ASM PLUS – a contractual matter that was swiftly resolved by an ASM PLUS civil mediator
Harvey is the chief executive and managing director of Haystack Ltd, a modest sized but very successful niche manufacturing company. Over 20 years he built the business up to the point that it was valued as being worth in excess of £100 million. Harvey is a rather vexatious character with a liking for litigation and tends to get results by riding roughshod over other people, not least suppliers and competitors. He has a lot of well established business contacts and is not averse to bad mouthing people whom he doesn’t like.
“Those who make situations seem more complex than they actually are probably do not understand them well enough”
This proposition was conceived by Vivek Garg MBA, the Texas-based Business Lead and Analyst. I trust that he will not mind me looking at his very wise words from a mediation perspective. Of late I have written a good deal about complexity but why do people make things...
Hocus, aged 30, is a defensive midfielder. He has a contract with AFC Ilchester who are currently top of Division One of the Football Championship. He has played for the club for five years. In that time, he has scored 25 goals, eight of them in the last year and has...
Mediation, facilitated meeting and critical thinking services from ASM PLUS – Services that are designed to avoid complexity
I recently wrote a blog which dealt with the difficulties caused by over complication and how best to address them. With this in mind I recall that in the last year or so I have read a number of newspaper articles in which either dire warnings are issued about very...
Civil and family mediation from ASM PLUS – Do people tell the truth and is there any difference between honesty and truth?
One thing that perplexes lawyers, judicial officials and ADR practitioners alike is the consideration of whether those giving evidence or making representations are credible and if so to what extent. The term “credible” tends to go hand-in-hand with the concept of...
ADR from ASM PLUS – Civil Mediation, Arbitration and Adjudication – Did King Henry VII of England Provide Late Medieval Blueprints for Them?
School students and undergraduates who study the English Tudor dynasty tend to focus on the long, eventful reigns of Henry VII's son, Henry VIII, and Queen Elizabeth I. Henry VII (hereinafter referred to as "Henry") who had a relatively short reign, is noted...
I have recently been thinking about education and what this means. Part of the reason for this, I suppose, is that I have recently finished my latest qualification, a masters degree in something called ‘work-based learning’. I suspect that there will be at least some...
Anger, a modern taboo or an important means of self-expression? How can Mediation help and can it be a form of “anger management”?
In modern Western society at least, words such as “anger” or “angry” conjure up negative visions of loss of self-control, threats of violence or possibly a term such as “anger management”. In the public sphere or the workplace, the notion of “letting off steam” may be...
Family Mediation and ADR services from ASM PLUS – Family and other disputes are not so much between right and wrong as right and right
Does anyone remember the film, Annie Hall? Aside from being a well-made and very enjoyable film, in focusing on the other aimlessly disintegrating relationship between Woody Allen's Alvie and Diane Keaton's Annie, it amply demonstrates that conflicts and disagreements...
Mediation – Decision making and “after the event” mediation – Included amongst a whole range of mediator skills there is one that is often overlooked, namely “unpicking”
One of my favourite novels is the 1920s classic, “England Their England” by AG MacDonnell. The chief character is an innocent abroad, Donald, a young Scotsman who under the terms of his father’s will is exiled from his homeland and moves to London. He decides to...
Critical Thinking Services from ASM PLUS – Business Applications of Critical Thinking (CT) – Why it works and what it can do for your business
Decision-making in business The application of CT in business can be very powerful. The process of moving from an initial question to a decision, using a CT (‘tree’) framework, can be represented in the following way. Question ↓ Clarifying terms ↓ Producing a...
Dispute Resolution Services from ASM PLUS – The benefits of learning from past mistakes and avoiding disputes before they arise
I recently had to lodge a complaint following very poor service from a well-known airline. A journey that should have taken about five hours door to door took 14 and, in the course, thereof, the airline got everything spectacularly wrong. The levels of incompetence...
Dispute avoidance and resolution in family cases from ASM PLUS – An excellent option for resolving domestic disputes before they get out of hand
As those who visit our website will appreciate, ASM PLUS is not just committed to using various forms of ADR in order to sort out disputes once they have occurred but also, two of our fundamental concepts are Early Dispute Avoidance (EDA) and Early Dispute Resolution....
I recently had a brush with bureaucracy that I would like to share with you. When I say ‘brush’ I really mean being scraped - naked and handcuffed - at high speed by a fast car over a gravel road in the middle of nowhere late at night with the lights off. But I...
An affiliate member of the Family Mediators Association, Suzy is the first and only ‘Divorce Strategist’ who provides practical guidance for individuals and couples in the UK and abroad, about how to stay out of court when divorcing. Employers as well as divorcing...
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Mediation and effective dispute resolution from ASM PLUS – A few reflections on the state of the international football transfer market and a message to players, agents and clubs everywhere.
In the summer, before the start of the new Northern Hemisphere football (soccer) season, the thoughts of coaches, club owners and directors turn to...... the player transfer market – what else? There is a lot at stake. Reputations of individual clubs may be won and...
Trevor Bayliss, the English national cricket coach and the ASM PLUS ethos of avoiding disputes and arguments before they arise.
It seems that even non-cricket fans in countries where cricket is little-known are aware that recently and following a gripping final, England won the cricket World Cup. Taking nothing away from New Zealand who were very worthy, some would say desperately unlucky...
Dr Roy van den Brink-Budgen is a world-renowned exponent of the discipline of critical thinking, accomplished international business adviser, trainer and writer, and a new member of the ASM PLUS team. Mediation can be understood as the process of assisting disputing...
Recently I successfully mediated a neighbour dispute involving two adjacent tenants. The mediation was instigated by their landlord, a small, publicly funded Housing Association. In essence one party had made significant allegations of noise nuisance made by one party...
While we’re not sure what’s going to happen regarding Brexit, it’s certainly worth looking at the last two years as a learning opportunity.
Civil Mediation from ASM PLUS – Listening – A necessity rather than an art and the value of neutral, third-party facilitative input from a mediator.
A recent edition of the UK Observer magazine (1) included a short questionnaire designed to help readers decide whether they were good listeners or not. This questionnaire which made no reference to mediation was accompanied by a number of quotes from eminent sources....
Bolton Wanderers Football Club – Would Externally Provided Dispute Resolution Services Make Any Difference?
I have approached this article guardedly because it is based largely on press reports and I am mindful that there has been little in the way of a substantive response from anyone who may be involved. The not inconsiderable difficulties that Bolton Wanderers FC is...
Of course, the value of money to you depends on how much you have. But £10,000 I suggest is a lot of money to a lot of people. But that’s how far the definition of a ‘small claim’ in our court system extends, with a lower exception of only £1000 for personal injury...
Educational Conflict Resolution Services and Mediation from ASM PLUS – threats to the UK education system and why external conflict resolution services can make a meaningful, cost-effective difference.
If ever the British public were in doubt about the challenges currently facing the UK education sector, any such notion should have been dispelled by the recent spate of objective but nonetheless rather pessimistic newspaper headlines and articles. These articles have...