Experience Qualification Path
Category 2: Core Mediation
Mediation Locations
United Kingdom
Mediation languages
Current position and background
John Sturrock QC is founder, senior mediator and chief executive of Core Solutions Group. Described in Chambers UK Guide to the Legal Profession (where he is listed in Band 1 of Best of the UK Mediators) as a "trailblazer" and "a wonderful communicator with much experience of complex commercial issues". Legal 500 has described John as "universally regarded as Scotland's finest mediator, with a reputation which compares favourably with mediators anywhere." He has been involved as mediator in a wide range of disputes in the public and private sectors in the UK, Middle East and elsewhere. He is a mediator of choice in major commercial, business and other sensitive or complex disputes or senior management level differences. Also highly rated in Who's Who Legal.

Chambers has described John as “one of the best teachers of mediation”. He is an internationally recognised coach and facilitator in the fields of negotiation, mediation and communication, and has worked with leading athletes, parliamentarians and senior executives in addition to lawyers and many other professionals. Prior to setting up Core, he was the first Director of Training and Education in the Faculty of Advocates from 1994 to 2002, where he designed and led the Scottish Bar’s award-winning advocacy skills programme.

He was a practising member of the Scottish Bar from 1986-2002 and was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1999 . He is a Visiting Professor at Strathclyde University. He was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws by Edinburgh Napier University in 2010.

John is a regular columnist and writer on the subject of mediation and conflict management. He trained in negotiation at Harvard University in 1996 and was Specialist of the Year at the Scottish Legal Awards in 2003. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the International Academy of Mediators and was named Mediator of the Year in the Law Awards of Scotland in 2009.

Academic background: LLB (First Class Honours) University of Edinburgh 1980; LLM, University of Pennsylvania 1985; Harkness Fellow in the USA 1984-5.
Main mediation practice areas
Mediator and facilitator in wide range of disputes and differences in UK and Europe covering commercial contracts, senior management, board room, partnership, intellectual property, banking, building and construction, health services, employment and discrimination, professional services, oil and gas, environment, higher and secondary education, fund management, information technology, property, agriculture, planning, estates, family business, deal negotiation, organisations, sport, armed forces, charitable organisations and others.
Mediation experience
Around 400 mediations across a wide range of areas and activities in Scotland, England, Ireland, Middle East, Switerland, Malawi, involving banks, law firms, major business and commercial interests, public and private sector, government and charities, with values extending to many £millions. Experience of multi-party complex mediations through to two party conventional negotiations. High success rate.
Description of mediation style
As a mediator, Sturrock's style varies according to circumstances and generally he offers a facilitative approach, underpinned with rigorous preparation and analysis. Adept at working with people at every level, he is respected for his ability to cut to the heart of issues while helping the parties to work through difficulties at their pace and with a sense of responsibility for making choices and for the outcome, often ensuring that the final deal is done by the principals.

Sensitive to human interests and rigorous on commerical issues, Sturrock works creatively with the mediation process, being willing to try new approaches and seeking always to create a collaborative environment. Mediations often commence with the parties having breakfast together!

see feedback below
Code of professional conduct
Core Mediation Code of Conduct - available on www.core-solutions.com
Complaint process
Core Mediation Concerns and Complaints Process - www.core-solutions.com
Professional indemnity insurance
£5million cover - details from 00 44 (0)131 226 6564
Feedback Digest
Reviewer: Mr Marsh Bill ( wm@billmarsh.co.uk )
Latest Update: 2016-02-03 20:29:34

All feedback suggests that John Sturrock’s skill and reputation is unparalleled in the Scottish market and that he is well recommended by clients there and elsewhere. He is perceived as being able to help clients achieve results which would otherwise have proved impossible. He is regarded as the most experienced and highly skilled mediator operating in Scotland, with an extensive practice elsewhere in the UK and a growing reputation in many other parts of the world. 

John builds rapport with parties quickly and effectively shows empathy with them while remaining impartial at all times. His style is both approachable and robust and he manages to stay optimistic throughout the process. Clients speak of his ability to combine a directness and rigour in getting to the heart of the issues, with a genuine respect, empathy and warmth for those involved. He is also said to be engaged and committed, and not afraid to give a steer to the negotiations.

He has good knowledge of background law (as a QC) and also a good understanding of commercial factors and a good manner with parties. It is said that clients enjoy the mediation process with John. 

He has an ability to “read” a case perfectly and his key USP is said to be in identifying instinctively the right approach to handling the mediation.

He is recognised for his ability quickly to focus on critical issues and to convey complex material in a simple manner and for his skill in pulling together widely disparate threads and knowing when and how to take matters forward. He adapts to fit the dynamic of the particular dispute and the style of the parties and their advisers.

John is acutely aware of the dynamic of the lawyer/client relationship and understands the pressures for advisers, particularly with a challenging client. 

In one matter, it was noted that he remained in contact with parties after the mediation day to assist them in reaching an agreement.

Outside of commercial mediation, his work with legislatures, sporting bodies and religious organisations gives him a valuable breadth of experience and insight.

Professional affiliations
Non-practising member of the Faculty of Advocates
Queens Counsel since 1999
Member of Judicial Studies Committee in Scotland 1997-2004
Visiting Professor of Advocacy Skills and Conflict Resolution at The University of Strathclyde, 1999 to date;
CEDR accredited 1996
CEDR Training Faculty Member
Distinguished Fellow, International Academy of Mediators
IMI Standards Commission
Fee rate
negotiable, based on range of £2250 - £3000 plus VAT (where applicable) per party, to include reasonable preparation time and preparatory conference call or meeting and one day of mediation up to 9 hours.
Contact details for references/recommendations
Hugh Donald
Shepherd + Wedderburn WS
1 Exchange Crescent
Conference Square
Edinburgh EH3 8UL
+44 (0) 131 473 5275

Stephen Pearson
Royal Bank of Scotland
Group Legal Department
Business House F
2nd Floor
PO Box 1000
Edinburgh, EH12 1HQ
+44 (0) 131 626 4188

Timothy Edward
Maclay Murray & Spens
3 Glenfinlas Street
+44 (0) 131 479 2776

Charles Macgregor
Simpson & Marwick
Albany House
58 Albany Street
+44 (0) 131 557 1545

Gordon Steele
Paull and Williamsons
Investment House
6 Union Row
AB10 1DQ
+44 (0) 1224 618516
Mediation education and training
Initally trained in negotiation at Harvard in 1996, and accredited as a mediator by CEDR that year. Since then, extensive involvement in mediation, negotiation and conflict management courses in the UK and abroad
Mediation teaching and mentoring
extensive experience in UK and abroad in leadership of international and national training courses in mediation, negotiation, communication and advocacy; regular presenter at national and international conferences.
Mediation publications
extensive -see www.core-solutions.com

Thinking Differently: Making a Difference using Mediation - Core's 10th anniversary book, edited by David Lee.


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