The 5th ICC International Commercial Mediation Conference focused on how companies can improve their chances of settling commercial disputes through direct negotiation, mediation and sound dispute resolution planning.
Entitled “Plan to Succeed”, the lively event was designed by an international board of experts in using mediation to end complex commercial disputes with contractors, governments or clients, saving time for all involved.
“The real added value of commercial mediation is that it helps businesses reach early and less expensive settlements of disputes in circumstances where direct negotiations have failed, and where the parties would otherwise be left only with the option of expensive and time-consuming arbitration or litigation,” said Jonathan B. Marks, whose conference presentation drew on his extensive experience as a mediator and arbitrator and founder of the United States’ first full-service ADR firm.
David Parker, Group Executive Director of property developers Chinachem Group, Hong Kong, has used mediation to end a number of lengthy disputes, one of which had lasted 15 years. He shared his lessons learned from effective offers in a session on claiming value. Mr Parker said: “It can be good for business to accept a less than ideal outcome rather than peruse litigations over many years. Disputes are not only time and money, but also emotion, effort…you’re focused on the past. It’s an exercise in risk-management, cost-containment and effort-containment.”
“The ICC International Commercial Mediation Conference is a platform for in-house counsel to exchange their experience and lessons learned in dispute resolution with a particular focus on mediation, conflict management and settlement. Through the interactive format of the conference we want to foster efficient discussions and true exchange,” said Hannah Tuempel, Manager of the ICC International Centre for ADR, who moderated discussions together with experienced Mediator, Arbitrator and Counsel Christopher Newmark.
The same team also launched the first New ICC Mediation Rules Workshop earlier this week, an opportunity to take stock of the ICC rules since they entered into force at the beginning of 2014. Using a mock dispute with a pharmaceutical company, the participants explored each step of the proceedings, together with some of the experts who helped draft the new rules.
The United Arab Emirate’s first female judge, Kholoud Al Dhaheri, Director of Alternative Dispute Resolution, and delegation attendant from Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, particularly appreciated taking part in the 5th ICC International Commercial Mediation Conference. She said: “We’re interested in learning best practice related to Alternative Dispute Resolution from around the world, it was a great opportunity to hear from the speakers and ICC about ADR.”
Among the valuable tips for participants was advice from Teresa Garcia-Reyes, based on her work as Senior Counsel, Litigation, GE Oil & Gas, US: “First offers can have a significant anchoring effect in a negotiation. Therefore, making a strong first offer in a negotiation – regardless of whether you are claimant or respondent – can be extremely advantageous, provided you have done your due diligence in preparing to make that offer.”
This explains the interest of a session entitled “How companies can define their own interests and prepare realist options”, which included first-hand advice from Abhijit Mukhopadhyay, President (Legal), Hinduja Group (London), India, and tips on how to minimize surprises at the negotiation table.
The event received support from several in-house counsel associations including the Association of Corporate Counsel Europe, Corporate Counsel International Arbitration Group, the European Company Lawyers Association, as well as the Round Table Mediation and Conflict Management of the German Economy. ICC also wishes to thank silver sponsors Taylor Wessing, and bronze sponsors Bird & Bird and The John Hardy Group for their support.
Since 2001, the ICC International Centre for ADR has mediated cases worldwide involving more than 70 nationalities. Over 75% of the cases transferred to the mediator concluded with a settlement.