Charlie Irvine

Charlie Irvine

Charlie Irvine, Senior Teaching Fellow, University of Strathclyde Law School, Glasgow, Scotland.

Charlie developed and runs Scotland's first masters programme in Mediation and Conflict Resolution, attracting students from around the world since 2010.  He is also Director of Strathclyde Mediation Clinic, providing opportunities for students and experienced mediators in courts across Scotland.  His academic work is currently focused on mediation and justice, in particular the neglected justice reasoning of ordinary people.  He also has a longstanding interest in the role of emotion in conflict resolution.  For more publications see   

Charlie has been working as a mediator since the early 1990s and his practice includes workplace disputes, professional complaints and organisational conflict.  He is former Chair of the Scottish Mediation Network and is a regular contributor to the Kluwer Mediation Blog.

Contact Charlie Irvine


Articles and Video:

Strathclyde Mediation Clinic: A decade of dedication to mediation in Scotland (10/11/21)
The Mediation Clinic attached to the University of Strathclyde (“The Mediation Clinic”) in Glasgow, Scotland, recently won the ‘Community Contribution Award’ at the Scottish Legal Awards 2021. This is an article discussing the program.

What Do ‘Lay’ People Know About Justice? (07/03/20)
University teachers faced with marking hundreds of papers have been known to find some crumbs of comfort in students’ more eccentric answers.

What Does Good Mediation Look Like? (04/02/19)
A consumer’s eye-view of good mediation.

Cooperation with a Competitor (07/21/17)
Morton Deutsch, the great social psychologist of common sense, explained the difference between competition and cooperation thus: “if you’re positively linked with another, then you sink or swim together."

Mediation and Research (12/19/16)
Does mediation do any good? Does it make the world a better place?

Scotland’s ‘Mixed’ Feelings About Mediation - Part 2 (07/01/16)
To a hammer, everything looks like a nail; and to litigators, most cases look ripe for litigation. But my generation entered the Scottish legal profession with an additional motivation: if a case runs its full course, it is not just good for our pockets, it is good for the law and good for the country.

Scotland’s ‘Mixed’ Feelings About Mediation - Part 1 (06/27/16)
This paper considers Scotland’s lack of receptivity towards mediation in the light of its ‘mixed’ legal heritage of both civilian and common law influences. It contrasts the approach to mediation in common law jurisdictions (such as England and Wales and those of the USA) with that of France, where litigation acts like an ‘attracting magnet’.

Oiling the Wheels of the Justice System (05/27/16)
This article is the talk given at the recent “100 cases” event in Glasgow to celebrate two years of small claims mediation provided by Strathclyde Mediation Clinic.

Joining a Conflict System: It Pays to Know Our Style (02/12/16)
When mediators join a conflict, they enter a living system. Realize it or not, that system is instantly changed by their arrival.

Legal Costs and ‘Mediation Receptivity’ (09/18/15)
In 2006 Frank Sander produced his ‘Mediation Receptivity Index’(22 Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, 599-618). The MRI would be a way of discerning the extent of ‘mainstreaming’ or ‘institutionalization’ of mediation in different US states. It doesn’t seem to have caught on, but we discuss Sanders work here.

“Justice” Report for England and Wales: A Missed Opportunity for Radical Change (06/29/15)
"Justice," a UK think-tank committed to legal reform, launched a new report in April 2015 entitled "Delivering Justice in an Age of Austerity". It proposes significant changes to the justice system of England and Wales, including a new character, the "Registrar", who would have powers to mediate, provide early neutral evaluation, dismiss cases or refer them to a judge. The article provides a detailed critique of the proposals, concluding that despite great merit, they extend the "shadow of the law" by making early neutral evaluation the default. A more radical and empowering change would have been to make mediation the default, with ENE and adjudication the remedial alternatives.

Lawyers of the Future on Mediation: Threat or a Promise? (06/19/15)
We have just reached the end of the annual marking season (grading for North Americans). The verbal joust of examinations is almost over. Students get their blows in first; teachers’ strike back with marks and comments.

Mind the Gap: Mediation and Justice (07/25/14)
This article examines the alleged gap between mediation and justice. It considers ideas of both substantive and procedural justice and examines persistent critiques of mediation as falling short of the supposed gold standard of litigation. It goes on to propose an alternative reading of mediation as a site where parties are empowered to negotiate not only the outcome of their dispute but the criteria by which that outcome is judged. This can be read as providing more rather then less justice, particularly in diverse societies where legal and social norms are contested.

Business As Usual? Mediation and the Justice System (05/19/13)
This article considers the under-use of mediation in the UK's second largest jurisdiction, Scotland. The article has three sections: a "myth buster" and two questions. The first examines three popular myths about mediation; the second addresses the question, "How does mediation add value to the justice system"; and the third presents the business case for lawyers, "Why does mediation make good business sense?"

A New Generation of Mediators (02/13/12)
Scotland has not been quick to adopt mediation. I have written before about the wariness shown by some of our most senior judiciary, and Scottish litigators have told me they have more experience of mediation in London than in Edinburgh or Glasgow.

The Three Pillars of Mediation (01/16/12)
Like many of us I am constantly torn between simplicity and complexity. The world is complex: that’s a given. But a beautiful morning or a lover’s kiss is simplicity itself, and it’s a fool who overcomplicates it.

Hanging On The Telephone: The Future of Mediation? (11/14/11)
I recently attended training in ‘telephone mediation’ delivered by two members of Mer Majesty’s Court Service (HMCS) Small Claims Mediation team. Over 99% of their mediations are conducted over the telephone in an hour or less.

What Mediation Tells Us About Mediators, Their Clients and Society (02/28/11)
Mediation is a funny old word. Pop it into Google Images and you get handshakes, jigsaws, tin-can phones and complicated diagrams. Some suggest agreement; some complexity; some downright difficulty. Mediation certainly means different things to different people. The dictionary definition is simple: ‘to settle (dispute, strikes, etc) as an intermediary between parties; reconcile.’ But in today’s launch of this new mediation scheme, I am less interested in what mediation means than in what it says, or what it tells us. I believe that mediation says something important about the people who mediate, about the people they mediate with and about society as a whole.

What Mediators Can Learn From The UK’s Seven Principles Of Public Life (05/10/10)
New mediators face a challenge: In addition to learning new techniques, they quickly realize that equally important are the values that they bring to the work. However, most mediator training offers little guidance on the sources of such values. This article considers the UK’s "Seven Principles of Public Life," articulated in an attempt to maintain high standards of probity in holders of public office. Although not necessarily public servants, mediators also fulfill an important representative role and can usefully adopt these principles as one source of agreed-upon societal norms.

Mediation And Social Norms: A Response To Dame Hazel Genn (06/29/09)
The article is a response to Dame Hazel Genn’s 2008 Hamlyn Lecture, in which she characterized mediators as having ‘no interest in justice and fairness.’ The article argues that mediators’ own rhetoric has allowed this caricature to develop and suggests that, in practice, mediators are no longer indifferent to norms like justice and fairness, if they ever were. Drawing on the work of Ellen Waldman and Julie MacFarlane this article examines the role of social norms and ethical codes in mediation practice, and calls on mediators to examine their values.