Forty Years On, Practitioners, Parties, And Scholars Look Ahead

Thomas D. Barton and James P. Groton provide an in-depth analysis of the voting results from the Global Pound Conference, highlighting the focus on preventing and limiting conflicts.

By the conclusion of the Global Pound Conference (GPC) process, thousands of delegates and participants had voted on 20 core questions that sought their views on dispute resolution.

Across the globe and consistently among all participant groups, the GPC voting results and other answers to questions supported the following conclusions:

  • Dispute resolution should be conceived and practiced earlier in the trajectory of risks that can develop into conflict, escalating from differences of opinion to arguments, aggression, and finally formal dispute resolution efforts;
  • Where possible, risks should be understood and addressed in advance so that problems never arise; and
  • Where prevention fails, steps should be initiated to de-escalate, contain, or provide “real-time” ad hoc resolution of conflicts so that formal dispute resolution can be avoided.

With information from the voting results on the core questions at GPC meetings all around the world, dispute prevention and resolution methods – in practice as well as design – will continue to evolve, at a pace of innovation that may now accelerate. We are indebted to the GPC initiative and to the rich data it has generated to help guide the future.

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Thomas D. Barton is a Professor of Law at the California Western School of Law in San Diego. He can be reached at

James P. Groton is a retired partner in the Atlanta law firm of Sutherland, Asbill and Brennan, now known as Eversheds-Sutherland, where he headed its Construction and Dispute Prevention and Resolution practice groups. He can be reached at

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