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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


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


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 [...]

New ICC Mediation Rules Unveiled at Global Launch

The new ICC Rules of Mediation were unveiled this week at a global launch in Paris.

Coming into force on 1 January 2014, the new ICC Rules will replace the ICC ADR Rules that have been used for amicable dispute resolution worldwide since 2001. The new Rules have been adapted to help parties resolve even the most complex cross-border disputes quickly and reliably. Changes include the setting of mediation as the default technique, as well as increased support from the ICC International Centre for ADR, the body administering the new Rules.

Hannah Tuempel, Senior Counsel and Manager of the ICC International Centre for ADR, noted the positive response from business: “The new ICC Rules of Mediatio [...]

Recommendations to develop International Commercial Mediation in Singapore

So, dear Readers,
This time last year I was telling you about new mediation initiatives in Hong Kong. Well, this year I hope to send you into the festive season with some very exciting news from Singapore.

On 3 December 2013, Singapore’s Ministry of Law unveiled key initiatives to transform and develop its international commercial mediation sector. Based on recommendations of a Working Group established in April 2013 by Singapore’s Chief Justice and the Ministry, the recommendations include the establishment of two new independent mediation entities: a new professional mediation body (the “Singapore International Mediation Institute”), and a new international mediation service provi [...]

Mandatory Mediation in Italy – Reloaded

The “Italian mediation explosion” attracted a lot of attention from the international mediation community. The mediation explosion came to a sudden halt in December 2012, when the Italian Constitutional Court ruled that the provisions had been unconstitutional. Just recently, on September 20, 2013, a new regulation came into effect, again opting for mandatory mediation, but with several important modifications.


The history of this program dates back to 2009, when the Italian legislature implemented Law No 69/2009. The Law delegated a mandate to the Government to introduce a regulation of civil and commercial mediation. The Government fulfilled it by legislative decree 28/2010, which int [...]

Chief Justice of Samoa launches Mediation rules

From the Samoan Observer 28 August 2013

Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asue Falefatu Sapolu yesterday launched Samoa’s Mediation Rules 2013 during a gathering at the Samoa Tourism Authority (STA) fale.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi was among Cabinet Ministers and senior government officials present. Also present was the Speaker of the House, La’auli Leuatea Polata’ivao as well as members of the judiciary.
His Honour Patu said the launch yesterday was a significant milestone for Samoa.

“Mediation is something very new but very old in Samoa,” he said. “Mediation has many similarities with the traditional Samoan way of settling disputes through the village [...]