The Global Pound Conference London – The End Of The Beginning

On October 29, 2014, 150 of us, representing many stakeholder groups from more than 20 countries, attended an important convention held in London’s beautiful Guildhall. Called ‘Shaping the Future of International Dispute Resolution’ the convention was inspired by the energetic and far-sighted Michael Leathes and was organised by the International Mediation Institute (IMI), which he pioneered and several other bodies.

London GPC

We were engaged by the individual voting and interactive technology used to extract and provide real-time data drawn from our input on a number of critical issues. The data that this convention generated suggested that significant gaps may exist between what disputants expect and need and what is currently provided by advisors, provider bodies, practitioners, educators and policy makers.

The outcome was the establishment of an international working committee with the task of planning a most ambitious venture – a series of conferences to be held across the globe known as the Global Pound Conference (GPC).

The goal of the series was to produce reliable data about how the different stakeholders saw the landscape by requiring participants to answer four core questions which, in summary, asked:

  • What do parties want, need and expect?
  • How is the market currently addressing these?
  • How can dispute resolution be improved? Overcoming obstacles and challenges.
  • What action should be considered and by whom?

Participants were also to be encouraged to work in groups to discuss and develop deeper responses to a series of discussion questions.

March 2016 saw the first conference, held in Singapore, and this was followed by a further 28 conferences spanning the globe and returning to the Guildhall for the London conference in July 2017.

Having had the good fortune to attend the 2014 convention and the GPC sessions in Singapore, Sydney (May 2017) and the finale in London, I have been reflecting on the experiences and the outcomes I found most significant.

It seems timely to provide a final reflection on two questions – what has the GPC Series given us and what may come next?  My list below is not exhaustive – I sense many of us are asking and answering the same two questions – it simply identifies what for me are the four most valuable take-aways:

The Global Conversation

The GPC Series got us talking. We are not all saying the same thing and we continue to have significant differences in how we see things and what we want. However the dispute resolution community, and its differing components (identified in the data collection as advisors, provider bodies, practitioners, educators and policy makers) have moved out of their separate compartments and into a community of stakeholders.

The Singapore Report

The technologically advanced and real-time data collection supported the careful and thorough data analysis (undertaken by Emma-May Litchfield</