Conflict Resolution|International|Mediation

IBA Annual Meeting Promises Interesting Dialogue

Last year’s IBA meeting in Madrid was an exciting time for those interested in dispute resolution around the world.  The current issue of Mediation News, the newsletter of the IBA Legal Practice Division, contains an article by me summarizing several but by no means all of the insightful sessions.  This year’s gathering in Vancouver on October 3-9 promises no less.

The IBA Dispute Resolution Section is offering a tantalizing session on “The Art and Science of Persuasion.”  Non-lawyer experts will join judges, arbitrators and advocates to discuss the challenge of persuasion in a cross-cultural context.

The Mediation Committee, chaired by the UK’s Jon Lang, has a bevy of offerings.  The first is an interactive session looking at negotiation techniques “used in situations beyond the commercial, where lives may depend on the skill and success of the negotiator or mediator.”  I have always wanted to learn about hostage negotiation and other dangerous settings for negotiation and it looks like I’ll have my chance.  (Talk about skills you hope you’ll never use, this one ranks with assisting childbirth.)

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Jane Player of Bird & Bird has joined with me to co-chair “Corporate Perspectives on Business Conflict.”  The topic is a familiar one to readers of this blog: The recognition by corporate end-users that ADR techniques are not merely a legal tool to avoid litigation, but also a management tool to create shareholder value.  Representatives of Coca-Cola Enterprises, E.I. duPont, General Electric, Swiss Re, and others will share their insights on managing relationships and avoiding conflicts’ becoming ripened disputes.

The IBA Leisure Industries Section is joining with the Mediation Committee to discuss the increasing phenomenon of cross-border consumer claims arising from air transport and train travel.  Germany has established a mediation board and Switzerland has an ombudsman facility for just such instances.


Other panels will include “Mediation in International Family Law,” “Investor-State Mediation.” and another offering by the redoubtable Patricia Barclay, whose mediation skills program this year is entitled “Energising Mediation,” and will address advanced techniques to bridge hurdles, break deadlocks, and perform other quasi-athletic feats.

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Reports will be forthcoming.   Considering a late registration?  Come on!

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