For enquiries or to arrange a confidential, no-obligation discussion, please contact Miriam Kennedy at 0131 524 8188.

John Sturrock QC

Founder, CEO and Senior Mediator

The founder and chief executive of Core, John is recognised as a pioneer in mediation and as one of the leading mediators in the UK, with an international reputation. He is also much in demand as a trainer and coach.

A “thought leader” with a “keen intellect”, “prepared to get at core issues” and “massive wealth of experience in difficult negotiation situations”. “John is the best mediator I have met and has brought about a settlement in two cases in which I thought resolution was impossible.”

As a mediator, he is highly regarded for:

  • Quality: a highly professional service, building relationships with the clients and advisers from the first point of contact, with strong emphasis on effective preparation for problem-solving.
  • Accessibility, with an easy manner throughout; friendly, astute guidance and support for all participating in mediation, based on years of experience; works easily with people of all stages and ages.
  • On the mediation day, early engagement through private meetings and, usually, breakfast with parties and advisers, striking a business-like and realistic, personal tone.
  • Ability to be direct and rigorous when necessary and to get to the heart of matters, while maintaining dignity and respect in the process.
  • Highly intelligent probing of the issues, using sharp legal mind, without the law dominating, and focussing on the commercial aspects and realistic risks for all concerned.
  • Thoughtful use of creative negotiation tools and techniques especially when impasse or deadlock arises, with a willingness to persevere.
  • His many years in business, including engagement with major companies and other corporate interests in strategy work, enabling him to encourage a commercial approach to problem-solving and ensuring that decision-makers can take responsibility for making realistic and fully-informed choices about the outcome.

For examples of some of John's recent mediations, read here.

John’s Feedback Digest on the website of the International Mediation Institute: link

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.

Full CV | Feedback Digest on the website of the International Mediation Institute | LinkedIn | John's Blog

Charlie Woods

Associate and Mediator

Formerly Director of Strategy and Chief Economist at Scottish Enterprise and now executive director of the Scottish Universities Insight Institute, Charlie has extensive experience of industry, commerce, and public and private sector organisations, ranging from SMEs to government. His mediation and facilitation experience extends to planning, family business, management, PPP contracts, transport infrastructure, government policy and professional services. He is a Visiting Professor at Strathclyde University Business School. Full CV

Liz Rivers


Liz was a commercial litigation lawyer in London for 10 years. One of the first people in the UK to become an accredited mediator, she has been mediating for nearly 20 years. She is recognised by Chambers Guide for her expertise in workplace and team conflicts and for her innovation and creativity.

She is a highly experienced executive coach and facilitator, working with senior leaders and rising talent in a wide variety of organisations. She has been a trainer of mediation skills since 1993. Full CV

Sandy Wilson


Sandy trained as a mediator with Core following his 35 year banking career with The Royal Bank of Scotland, where he gained in-depth expertise in dispute resolution.

He has extensive experience of corporate restructuring, turnarounds, work-outs and insolvency and has been an enthusiastic user of mediation services for several years. Full CV

Carol Cooke


Carol is a qualified solicitor of more than 25 years standing, working in many areas of legal practice including: Employment, Civil Litigation, Property Disputes, Matrimonial and Family Law; and chamber practice.

She has extensive experience of disputes and how parties experience and resolve them. Full CV

Also Available:


Sir David Edward QC | Mediator

Sir David is a former British judge in the European Court of Justice and appeal court judge in the Court of Session. He is one of the most distinguished lawyers of his generation. Full CV

Calum MacNeill QC | Mediator

Calum is highly ranked in Chambers Guide and experienced in commercial litigation, specialising in building and construction, professional negligence and employment law. Full CV

Key People

Miriam Kennedy

Business and Mediation Manager

Miriam is our office contact for mediations, ensuring the effective management of mediations, as well as ongoing administrative and financial management support. As a law graduate from the University of Edinburgh, she wrote her dissertation on mediation in Scotland. 

Contact Us

For enquiries or to arrange a confidential, no-obligation discussion, please contact Miriam Kennedy at 0131 524 8188.

Subscribe to our newsletter