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International Mediation – A Comparative Table of Institutional Mediation Rules

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In the world of international mediation, global providers such as ICC, WIPO and AAA/ICDR dominate the landscape together with various more regionally based institutions such as HKIAC, SMC and CEDR.

Of course, parties who choose to resolve cross-border disputes by way of mediation are free to develop their own bespoke rules of engagement as they might in their domestic mediations via a comprehensive mediation agreement (ad hoc mediation) – however, and although there are cost implications, parties to international mediations usually perceive real benefits in adopting a tried and true process administered by a respected and often global ADR provider (administered mediation).

Many parti [...]

The Race towards a New York Convention for Cross-border Mediated Settlement Agreements: the Fable of the Tortoise and the Hare Revisited?

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In his recent posting for the Kluwer Arbitration Blog, Michael McIlwrath picks up on what I affectionately refer to as the NYC4M (New York Convention for Mediation) theme, that is the debate about whether an international convention for the enforcement and recognition of cross-border mediated settlement agreements would assist the development of, and promote the use of, cross-border mediation. It’s a theme that Geoff Sharp of this Blog has also pursued. Moreover, the International Mediation Institute and the International Bar Association have recently announced a joint Taskforce to pursue an NYC4M.

While the idea seems at first glance like a no-brainer, an obviously attractive proposal t [...]

Mama Boko Haram – A Lesson In Trust

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Last month, Al Jazeera carried a piece called “‘Mama Boko Haram’ grasps for peace in Nigeria”. It detailed the activities of Aisha Wakil (pictured above), a Nigerian lawyer who has become a de facto mediator between Boco Haram and the Nigerian government – often at considerable risk to herself.

“Mama Boko Haram”, as she has been dubbed, is now on the government-initiated Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North. She represents a powerful model of mediators who emerge from the community in which the conflict is located, rather than “outsiders”. For example, this is how she first developed her relationship with the then leader [...]

Contrasting mediations….richness awaits…..

I write here about two contrasting experiences which have, for me, underscored the richness of the mediation process.

In one mediation, involving business partners with an ongoing management issue, one of the protagonists (A) suggested bringing in another partner (D) who was not perceived to be a part of the present problem, simply to observe, be a resource to the participants and help balance numbers as A, a more junior partner, felt outnumbered by B and C who held senior positions.

D made clear at the outset that he did not wish to say much and that he did not wish to become embroiled. However, a private meeting with him elicited much information that seemed helpful going forward. Rather [...]

A False ‘Prince Charming’ Keeps ‘Sleeping Beauty’ in a Coma: On Voluntary Mediation Being the True Oxymoron of Dispute Resolution Policy

The recent publication of a study conducted for the European Parliament on Mediation, “Rebooting the Mediation Directive,” has contributed to the ongoing debate about effective mediation policy. I am the coordinator of that Study, whose results were based on 816 questionnaires completed by respondents from the 28 member states of the EU.

The Study determined that mediation in the EU is still the “Sleeping Beauty” I first heard about when I decided to enter this field 20 years ago. Despite many decades of stagnation, renewed enthusiasm and repeated efforts to revive her, the consensus seems to be that our princess is more than just asleep. The Study concluded that unless “elements o [...]

Nudging cross-border mediation forward

How do you get people to eat more fruit and less junk food?

How do you get more people to agree to donate their organs?

How do you get more people to engage in cross-border mediation?

I’ll come back to food and organs shortly. Let’s stay with mediation for a minute.

Within Asia, Hong Kong, Singapore and other centres are positioning themselves as regional leaders in cross-border mediation. Statistically though, there is not an enormous amount of cross-border mediation going on. International arbitration remains the process of choice.

At mediation conferences and other get-togethers, mediators and other ADR advocates ask themselves, why?

Some say it’s the lack of an international lega [...]

Reflections On Neutrality

Recently my good friend Canon Andrew White (aka “the Vicar of Baghdad”, as he is the Anglican priest at St George’s Church, Baghdad) convened a meeting of religious certain leaders from Iraq and Israel, bringing together senior Iraqi Muslim and Israeli Jewish figures in Cyprus for several days of talks about peace. It was by all accounts a great success. Aside from the content (and the concluding announcement of the meeting that “Fear is cancelled”!) it set me thinking about mediators and neutrality.

In all sorts of ways, you could say that Andrew is not “neutral” – at least, not in the way that mediators often think of neutrality. In the field of Middle East religion [...]

An Asian Switzerland, Expectation and Regret

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Having last week returned to New Zealand from Singapore where I was honoured take part in the launch of the ICC Mediation Rules, I saw first hand the support for mediation in Singapore from powerful institutions like the Singapore Judiciary and the Ministry of Law.

Singapore, and my guess is Asia in general, is in the grip of a trade boom – from my hotel window it showed. I counted well over 100 large ships at anchor in the bay awaiting their turn to come along side the container  port.  This amazing country, lacking in land and natural resources of its own, unloads raw materials and later exports them after refining, value adding and reshaping them. In this way, Singapore has become th [...]

10 Tips for Teams at the ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition 2014

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The annual ICC Commercial Mediation Competition is about to kick off in Paris, France on 7 February 2014 and as I write this 500 students from over 40 countries will be making their way to The City of Light by trains, planes and bus.

Teams are drawn from law and business schools across the globe and 120 of the world’s leading commercial mediators and corporate representatives will play their part as judges and mediators.

Over 6 days in the dead of a Paris winter there will be 200+ mock mediation sessions with numerous training programmes and social events - all held in the smartest of Paris law firms like Clifford Chance, Linklaters, Eversheds and McDermott Will & Emery.

So, to the stud [...]

What’s ‘new’ in the new ICC Mediation Rules?

On December 4, 2013, the ICC launched the new Mediation Rules which will replace the 2001 ADR Rules as from January 1, 2014. In the words of Hannah Tuempel, Manager of the ICC International Centre for ADR, “there’s no earth-shaking new change to the rules”. At the global launch event last Wednesday, ‘simple’ and ‘flexible’ were most often repeated as the two main features of the new Rules.

The most obvious and visible change is the new name. When the ICC ADR Rules were drafted thirteen years ago, they were tailored to fit all ADR techniques, including mediation, conciliation and other techniques. Now, with more than 90% of the ICC’s cases filed since 2001 reverting to mediati [...]