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  • Ed

Sing for your supper

On the way home from a session the other day I was listening to BBC Radio 4 who were attending the most unusual form of arbitration I've come across (short of bare knuckle fighting).

Karaoke is the Marmite of entertainment, you either love it or hate it. I suppose if you're one of those who loves singing in public putting your dispute in the hands of a slightly tipsy (being generous) jury is one way to go.

I'm in no way advocating this as a method of dispute resolution especially as apparently it's not how good your pitch is but how much feeling you put into your "singing" which determines your result, or, I would dare to suggest, how tone deaf the jury happens to be.

Presumably there are some staples for these performances including the Beatle's "Tax Man", for disputes with HMRC; Costello's "I can't stand up for falling down" for those tricky slipping accidents; Madness' (or indeed Crosby Stills and Nash's) "Our House" for all those building disputes.

But it's a long way from mediation, one of the key principals of which is that control is retained by the disputing parties, not handed over to the mediator (who is neither judge nor jury) or an X-factor style panel of critics. No matter how good your voice is or how well you present your arguments mediation is not about judging your actions, position or objections it's about helping you find a resolution you can accept and moving on up. (sorry)

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