From Conference Series To Global Community – What’s Next For The GPC?

As the Global Pound Conference Series 2016-17 draws to a close,  it is time to take stock and consider how both the data analysis and conversations from each event might inform the future of Dispute Resolution.

As an academic, I am wary to avoid drawing conclusions before the final analysis is complete; but as contributor to the series from design to data analysis , I would like to share some of the themes I see emerging from this ambitious project.


Emerging themes:

  1. The move from ADR to DR
  2. Consideration of the sophistication of parties may prove crucial
  3. Education is key
  4. Lawyers see things differently from other stakeholders, including parties.

1. The move from ADR to DR

When we started the project, there was contention among committee members about the definition of different dispute resolution processes. In particular, the definition of ‘ADR’. Is it alternative DR, appropriate DR..?

Facilitating the London Pilot, February 2016

As the project gained momentum, conversations moved from the idea of there being two distinct poles of DR. At one end, the adjudicative processes (such as litigation and arbitration) where the process and outcome are determined for the parties, and at the other end, the non-adjudicative processes (such as mediation), where parties have the opportunity to be decision-makers.

From these conversations, two things became clear. First, many stakeholders were starting to see the benefits of hybrid processes such as med-arb. Secondly, there was a realisation that dispute-savvy parties desire tailored processes that require DR practitioners to be familiar with a range of skills across the DR process continuum.

As such, we are now in a world where we no longer have a strict delineation between adversarial processes and non-adversarial processes. Now, all processes can co-habit within the DR landscape.

2. Consideration of the sophistication of parties may prove crucial

The GPC Series invited participants to pay attention to the parties’ perceptions. As a result, we now have evidence (see pp 48-50) that parties who are unfamiliar with DR processes have different wants, needs and expectations from dispute-savvy clients.

Facilitating the collection of the data at the inaugural conference GPC Singapore, March 2016

The GPC has revealed that the ‘experienced user’ and the ‘sophisticated user’ may not always be the same. Parties who are familiar with a single DR process may not be dispute-savvy, as they will view a dispute through a limit