I combine mediation with independent research and my work with the UK Administrative Justice Institute (UKAJI), based at the University of Essex.
I became interested in mediation while working as an editor for the American Arbitration Association. This introduction to dispute resolution inspired me to train as a mediator with the Community Justice Center in Queens, New York City, in 1987. For about two years I went into the Center after work to mediate neighbour disputes, landlord-tenant disputes, and a range of other locally based problems. In 1990 I moved to the UK, where I joined my local mediation service, had more training, became a trainer, and gained my accreditation.
Over the years I have worked with a number of community-based mediation services in London and served as a trustee with the former umbrella body for community mediation, Mediation UK.
I have also helped develop policy in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and raise awareness of ADR’s role in the access to justice landscape. I research and write on ADR as a consultant to organisations in the not-for-profit and the advice sectors. I helped develop and manage the website ADRnow on behalf of the Advice Services Alliance, and I have carried out research on mediation and ADR with the Public Law Project and the National Consumer Council. I also carried out the independent studies of the pilot small claims mediation service in Manchester, which served as the model for the small claims mediation provision now available in county courts across England and Wales. You can read my articles here.
In 2006 I gained a Master’s in Research in Law and Sociolegal Studies (distinction) from Birkbeck College, University of London.
From 2009 to 2014 I was an independent non-executive director of the Office for Legal Complaints, which oversees the Legal Ombudsman for England and Wales. I was on the board of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) from 2005 to 2011 and was a founding member of the council of Otelo and the Energy Ombudsman (now Ombudsman Services Ltd) from 2002 to 2009. I am an individual associate member of the Ombudsman Association (OA) and an independent member of its Validation Committee.
My primary interest and experience are in disputes faced by individuals in their roles as consumers, neighbours, students, workers and citizens, and by marginalised groups, particularly those with disabilities.
I am based in London, although I work across the UK.