Since 2001, the Union Internationale des Avocats World Forum of Mediation Centres (UIAWFMC) has brought together the best commercial dispute resolution professionals and representatives from ADR centres around the world. Its purpose is to foster the exchange of views on the development of ADR (with a focus on mediation), enhance knowledge, consider emerging best practices and learn from other cultures. The Forum takes place every 9 months in a different international venue.
The 24th Annual UIAFMC was held in Singapore in collaboration with SIDRA, SMU, SIMI and SMC. Like the GPC Series 2016-17, the forum attracted international delegates – many of whom have participated in multiple events. As the authors of the Singapore Report, we were invited to join a global panel to share our analysis and insights from the GPC. Other panellists were Ross W. Stoddard III (Attorney-Mediator from the USA) and Assistant Professor Dorcas Quek from the SMU School of Law (former District Court Judge in Singapore).
We then encouraged the participants to consider the relevance of the GPC findings to their own practices. They agreed that to provide the most effective client support, practitioners must themselves become dispute-savvy and not simply endorse familiar dispute resolution processes.
Our session re-introduced the concept of the dispute-savvy client which we identified from the data we analysed for the Singapore Report. The delegates recognised the continuing value of this concept and engaged in energetic discussion about how their local jurisdictions accommodate the different wants, needs and expectations of disputing parties.
This re-inforced the observations in our previous blog, that practitioners need to help clients to identify the particular features of their dispute, and support them in selecting the DR process best suited to their desired outcomes.
Participants were influenced by the example of the early adopters of the GPC findings (such as Herbert Smith Freehills in London and the Victorian Department of Justice and Regulation in Australia). These early adopters are demonstrating an appetite to build practices showcasing a client-centric perspective.
As we see it, the Global Pound Conversation continues to challenge practitioners to step up and join the next iteration of DR where best practice will demand evidence-based, client-centred, flexible and collaborative DR practices.
Written by Emma-May Litchfield and Danielle Hutchinson.