Written by Graham Perry

Graham Perry M.A. Cantab FCIArb Experienced Arbitration Lawyer | China & Chinese Business Affairs | Public Speaker/Lecturer

6 June 2022


The Mediator, usually a relaxed + reassuring conversationalist, is “all over the place”. In a departure from her normal ways, she avoids eye contact, stumbles with her words and conveys to Juliet an awkwardness she has never previously exhibited.

Juliet is quickly put on notice that something is amiss. She guesses that maybe the Mediator has discovered a health problem or received some family bad news. She intervenes in an attempt to put the Mediator at ease but her words fail + an awkward silence ensues. Juliet busies herself, makes tea, puts out some cakes + makes awkward conversation about the weather + her two children.

The Mediator recovers her composure + realises that she has to say what is on her mind. “Sit down, please Juliet, there is something I have to say”. Juliet does as requested + notices that her own hands have become clammy. The Mediator speaks. Calmly + this time with her normal fluency, she explains how matters have developed; how to her surprise she has become aware of feelings for Juliet; how she has wrestled with the issue both on a personal and a professional level.

Having these feelings means, says the Mediator, that she has to stand down from any further involvement with her husband regarding the Mediation and she will withdraw in a dignified citing either work pressures of health issues. She will recommend a replacement mediator and, if Juliet wishes, she can continue to assist as a friend without charge.

Now the Mediator comes to the “feelings for Juliet” issue. This becomes a lengthy one-way conversation. The Mediator talking. Juliet listening. The Mediator explains this is the first time. She has been taken aback and the emotional feeling is making her review her past in an attempt to better understand how and why she has warm feelings for Juliet. But the feelings are there; they are not a passing phenomenon and she apologises to Juliet for burdening her with this quite private disclosure.




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