Mediation week

ICC Mediation Week 2021 goes digital

  • 5 February 2021

ICC’s largest educational event of the year, ICC Mediation Week, begins today and is going digital for the first time in its 16-year history.

More than 400 students, ADR professionals, academics and volunteers from almost 40 countries will convene via a custom-built platform, to participate in the annual event, making it the most diverse edition to date.

The global health crisis has impacted conflict resolution processes across the globe, challenging commercial partners in their efforts to resolve disputes effectively and efficiently. But despite the obstacles the pandemic has imposed across industries, it has brought an array of opportunities to the dispute resolution scene.

In December, the ICC International Centre for ADR received its 400th request for mediation and registered a total of 77 new cases in 2020—a caseload record—and all cases took place virtually. These numbers reflect a stronger commitment of parties to the mediation process. Not only have these uncertain times led parties to try and resolve disputes quickly and amicably, choosing to focus on their interests instead of legal positions, they have also made the process more flexible and accessible than ever. That is why the ICC Mediation Competition continues to be an exciting and important platform for building the skills of rising mediation talent who will support and enable international trade in the 21st century.

As the global institution for dispute resolution worldwide, ICC is proud that the decision to go digital has made the annual ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition more diverse and inclusive to reflect with today’s current practices. The world’s leading mediation moot will see representation from Chile, Ecuador and the United Arab Emirates, as well as several universities competing for the first time—reinforcing ICC’s commitment to making diversity an inherent hallmark of international dispute resolution. What is more, the Competition’s new innovative format marks a first foray into the future of mediation.

From today until 11 February, 48 university teams will compete in 100 mock mediations, all taking place via a dynamic, tailor-made portal. Virtual sessions will be judged and mediated by a roster of ADR practitioners and academics from around the world.

Today, teams, professionals and volunteers are set to spend the day participating in live Q&A sessions to understand the new platform, their roles and the rules of the prestigious Competition. The first day will conclude with a dynamic virtual social event, aimed at encouraging the many networking opportunities the annual event is known for.

Preliminary rounds take place from 6-9 February. With morning and evening sessions to accommodate participants across time zones, university teams will showcase their negotiation skills at the mediation table. Just four university teams will move on to the Semi-Finals, which will take place on 10 February.

While the students are hard at work putting their skills to the test, practitioners and academics will be able to attend the eighth edition of the ICC Mediation Roundtable. The invite-only event is dedicated to analysing the industry’s latest trends and exchanging experiences to further the development of mediation and its practices. This year’s event, which is co-organised with the International Academy of Mediators, will focus on co-mediation: what it is and how can it help resolve disputes.

The Competition Final will be recorded and is scheduled for 11 February. The Closing Ceremony and announcement of the 2021 champion will be live-streamed via ICC Mediation’s social media platforms.

Interested in learning more about mediating in a digital world? Here are five tips from ICC Mediation Week’s Headline Sponsor, Clifford Chance.