ICC Mediation Week opens with new ICC International Mediation Roundtable

  • 6 February 2014
ICC Diversity

ICC Mediation Week has kicked off at the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) Paris headquarters with the launch of a dynamic new roundtable event for mediators volunteering in the 9th ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition on 7-12 February, together with coaches of the 66 competing university teams.

Designed by a think-tank of experts in amicable dispute resolution, the 1st ICC International Mediation Roundtable reflects the collaborative spirit of ICC Mediation Week, enabling mediators and academics from across the world to exchange best practices and new techniques, and foster the development of an international network of mediators.

Jason Meek, Deal Mediator, Lawyer and Organizational Ombudsman, and Chair of the ICC Mediation Roundtable think-tank, welcomed participants to the afternoon’s talks, which warmed up with a “mediator speed-dating” session. “The ICC Mediation Roundtable is a unique platform for discussions among practitioners and educators within the international mediation community,” said Mr Meek. “This is the first mediation conference I’ve seen that takes such a participant-focused approach, emphasizing collaborative learning and questioning the most important issues in mediation, based on what’s happening right now in the field, all across the world.  We’re sharing perspectives, ideas and best practices, and shaping our potential, in ways that have never been possible before.”

Angela Herberholz, Project Manager of the ICC International Centre for ADR, the body that administers the ICC Mediation Rules, added: “This first ICC International Mediation Roundtable has sparked a wealth of productive, lively discussions between mediators and academics from all around the world! I hope it becomes an annual event, helping promote higher mediation standards worldwide.”

Latest developments in international commercial mediation were the focus of a panel discussion involving team coach Shahla Ali, Assistant Professor of Law and Deputy Director, Programme in Arbitration and Dispute Resolution at the Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong; William Wood QC, Mediator and Arbitrator, Brick Court Chamber; and Christine Guerrier, VP Dispute Resolution and Litigation, Corporate Legal and Contract Department, Thales Group.

Thrilling contest

The 1st ICC International Mediation Roundtable kicks off ICC’s annual Mediation Week, which includes the 9th ICC International Mediation Competition with its more than 500 participants. Over five days of intense negotiations, business and law students will tackle a range of mock commercial disputes, mediated by some of the world’s leading commercial mediators. A panel of judges test each university team for skills in representation, problem solving, and handling different cultural approaches to mediation.

“The most exciting aspect of the competition is the thrill,” said one of the experts who helped run the 1st ICC International Mediation Roundtable, Greg Bond, Mediator, Lecturer, University of Wildau. Having joined the ICC Mediation Competition in 2011 as an observer, Mr Bond has since taken part every year, both as judge and mediator, and is set to judge this year’s final which he described as “a tremendous privilege”.

Mr Bond added: “There’s a lot of positive emotion, and adrenaline levels are high. Meeting so many dedicated students and professionals from all over the world, however briefly in some cases, is exhilarating. There’s a real spirit of cooperation and mediation. It’s really useful to observe others mediate, judge, and compete: there’s so much to learn from watching and listening to them all.”

Competition participants apply the new ICC Rules of Mediation, which replaced the ICC Amicable Dispute Resolution Rules on 1 January 2014, in settling various life-like disputes, from the transfer of a sensitive international footballer, to the destruction of crops by a swarm of locusts.

Although each student can only compete once, a number of universities – from Brazil, New Zealand, Singapore, Lebanon, the UK and elsewhere – come back year after year with new teams. They are joined in 2014 by many universities fielding teams for the first time, from countries as diverse as Kenya, Bahrain, and Trinidad and Tobago.

ICC wishes to thank the range of sponsors for their support, in particular headline sponsor KPMG, as well as gold sponsors Castaldi Mourre and Partners and Clifford Chance, and silver sponsors Evershields, Linklaters and McDermott Will & Emery.

The event’s corporate supporters are Siemens and Thales, while its media partners include Oxford University Press, and the American Bar Association’s Section of International Law, who publish the quarterly journal The International Lawyer.

For more information on ICC mediation services visit ICC Arbitration and ADR