Here is a link to my article on Othello and family violence published in The Conversation. I am presenting a paper at this week’s National Mediation Conference on a similar theme – Mediating King Lear:  Taking the Tragedy out of Shakespeare’s Greatest Tragedy. The bi-annual National Mediation Conference is the largest convention of mediators in Australia.  There are always great presentations of interest to lawyers and other negotiation professionals – as well as for mediators.


Here is an article by me from last Friday’s Sydney Morning Herald on the impact of Australia’s increasingly international population and possible child abductions – The article explains that six of the ten most common countries of origin of immigrants to Australia are not signatories to the Hague Convention on the International Abduction of Children.


On Monday 7 March I am appearing on a Law Society expert panel discussion of ethical, moral, legal and practical considerations arising in negotiations and dispute resolution practice. Other panel members include a Federal Court Judge, Barristers and Solicitors. Steve Lancken will facilitate a discussion of a hypothetical mediation from the entertainment industry involving moral, legal and behavioural dilemmas. Places in the audience are still available.  Here is a link to the Law Society website with further detail and online registration -


LEADR-IAMA is one of the largest mediation organisations in Australasia with over 4000 members.  It holds a biannual Kongress which covers topics relevant not only to mediators, but also to lawyers and all professionals interested in negotiation and conflict resolution. In my presentation to this year's Kongress in Sydney, I shall explain how electronic communications such as email and text create misunderstandings and conflict.  I shall recommend ways in which professionals can assist others (and themselves) to avoid the traps of electronic communications that commonly arise in negotiations and dispute resolution. For a link to a short audio preview of my presentation (to be given on Monday 7 September 2015) as well as links to register - click here. I also spoke at the last Kongress in 2013 on lawyers at mediation.  For a link to my earlier paper click here.


My Article About Negotiating

Here is link to an article of mine published by The Conversation about negotiating and deciding who should make the first offer. The Conversation is a great news and current affairs website which publishes daily newsletters. All articles are written by academics and are research based.  I qualify as I lecture in Dispute Resolution Advocacy at the University of Technology Sydney - in addition to being a family lawyer and mediator. The Conversation initially began in Australia in 2011. Associated sites now also operate in the US and UK. I recommend subscribing to the daily email at


I thought you might find this video interesting -  It features English teenagers talking about the separation of their parents.  As a family mediator and lawyer, the video made me reflect on: Even though the interviews occur around 6 years after separation, some of the teenagers are still hoping their parents might get back together. The teenagers spend a lot of time and energy thinking and worrying about their parents and their separation. The parents gave little and conflicting information to their children about the separation - perhaps explaining the above two points. The separations could have been made easier for the children (and probably the parents) by greater communication between the parents and clearer explanations about what is to happen being given to the children.  Mediation is a great way for parents to decide how to do this. I have been referring my mediation and legal clients to the video. You ...


Separating spouses have many issues to resolve - including choosing the most appropriate decision making process.  Early selection of the best process helps separating spouses reach the best possible agreements, save time and money, and minimise acrimony. I have developed the attached chart to help explain the four main process choices available to spouses - being mediation, collaborative practice, lawyer-to-lawyer negotiations and court.  I find the chart useful in helping clients select the most appropriate process for their family circumstances. You are welcome to use the chart to discuss this issue with your clients, friends or colleagues.  I would welcome your feedback. Click here for my Family Law Process Chart.


Principles of Persuasion

As a mediator, I regularly see disputants (and their lawyers) make counter productive attempts to persuade each other. These attempts at persuasion often drive parties away from (rather than towards) resolution and agreement.  Three common mistakes are:  1.     Misunderstanding who needs to be persuaded In a negotiation or mediation, it is the other party who needs to be persuaded – not the mediator.  Disputants mistakenly frame their attempts at persuasion to be appealing to the mediator (who does not get to decide) or an imaginary Judge.  The way you persuade a Court is different to how you persuade the other side to a dispute.   2.     Trying to persuade by threat and coercion Disputants regularly try to persuade by pointing out the other side’s errors, and the retribution that will arise if they do not accept the threatener’s proposal.  Human beings resist threats instinctively.  This tendency to fight or flee from threats is increased at times ...


Many negotiators (including lawyers) believe that the party who makes the first offer, loses the negotiation.  What does the psychological research and negotiation theory say? A fundamental question in any negotiation is who should make the first offer – and why.  The question arises in many different contexts - buying or selling a car, seeking compensation for loss of a job, dividing up the family assets after separation, or bartering with children about pocket money and chores. In single issue negotiations, research has shown that the ultimate agreement in any negotiation is more strongly influenced by the first offer than by any subsequent concessionary behaviour of the parties. (1)  High opening demands lead on average to more favourable outcomes than moderate opening demands.(2)  The initial offer is an anchor around which the subsequent negotiations pivot.  The other party tends to respond to the anchor by suggesting an adjustment to it and thereby giving the anchor ...