I just read this blog post by John Sturrock, a preeminent Scottish mediator who has long worked to mediate political conflicts involving Scotland and the United Kingdom. He was active before the recent referendum on Scottish independence and he has been working on issues related to “Brexit,” the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union.
He and a colleague, Charlie Woods, from his company, Core, sponsored an event yesterday bringing together representatives from a wide range of stakeholders to participate in simulation of the current political situation. The stakeholders included “the Scottish Government, the UK Government, the Welsh Government, the Northern Ireland Government, the Republic of Ireland Government, EU Heads of Government, American Congress, regions of England outside London and the South East, the islands of Orkney and Shetland, and young people of Scotland.”
As John noted, this event took place just as the Scottish Government voted to pursue another referendum on independence and the UK Government formally announced its intention to withdraw from the EU.
The deliberative process he conducted is such a stark contrast to the sharp political polarization and poor communication in the US these days. Of course, they didn’t solve the problems of Scotland and the UK last night, but hopefully it will contribute to a constructive path forward for all the stakeholder groups.
John Lande is the Isidor Loeb Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri School of Law and former director of its LLM Program in Dispute Resolution. He received his J.D. from Hastings College of Law and Ph.D in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He began mediating professionally in 1982 in California. He was a fellow at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the Director of the Mediation Program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Law School. His work focuses on various aspects of dispute systems design, including publications analyzing how lawyering and mediation practices transform each other, business lawyers’ and executives’ opinions about litigation and ADR, designing court-connected mediation programs, improving the quality of mediation practice, the “vanishing trial,” and planned early negotiation. The International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution gave him its award for best professional article for Principles for Policymaking about Collaborative Law and Other ADR Processes, 22 Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution 619 (2007). The ABA recently published his book, Lawyering with Planned Early Negotiation: How You Can Get Good Results for Clients and Make Money. His website, where you can download his publications, is http://www.law.missouri.edu/lande.