12 February 2021
New Zealand’s University of Auckland took victory in the 16th edition of the ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition in an all-woman final against Bulgaria’s University of Sofia. The University of New South Wales, Australia took third place, followed by the Brooklyn Law School from the United States in fourth.
The fictitious final dispute between a small textile manufacturer and a distribution company specialising in products for tourists was based on a real-world case and written by Competition professional, Alain Roy.
Commenting on the session, professional mediator and Competition Final judge Thomas Valenti said:
“The session showed some interesting use of information gathering and trust-building, all designed to look forward to building a future relationship. The women showed a depth of knowledge of interest-based negotiation and the benefits of mediating a dispute that caused a disruption to both parties, through no fault of either.
The ICC Mediation Competition continues to attract highly talented student participants, who are anxious to show their skills while still willing to benefit from the knowledge of professionals who volunteer their time to contribute to the profession.”
Britney Clasper and Bronwyn Wilde represented Auckland in the final mediation. Reflecting on her team’s success, Ms Wilde said:
“ICCMW is a truly international competition, which requires you to adapt your skills to unique styles and cultural differences. It’s a rare experience and I would encourage anyone to give it a go.”
University of Auckland coach, Matthew Jackson, said:
“We are incredibly proud of how the team has represented the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and their supporters. Moreover, it has been rewarding to see how the team has grown and learnt from each round during ICCMW. The final round was a delight to witness and we congratulate Sofia University on their performance.”
Other University of Auckland team members were Arianna Bacic and Andrew O’Malley Shand. The second coach of the team was Isabelle Kwek.
According to the 2020 QS World University Rankings by Subject, the university is ranked as the best place to study law in New Zealand, based on its academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact.
Mediating the final session, Martin Hauser—who is also a Commercial Mediator in France and Germany—said:
“I enjoyed the previous ICC Mediation Competitions–meeting the students together with their coaches in-person in Paris, as well as my colleagues and friends from around the world—as much as I enjoyed the first online ICC Mediation Competition of this year.
A bit like the vaccine against the pandemic, this platform allowed all of us to save the major educational event for the students. Even if it was built as a response to the current worldwide health situation, it allows us to realise that competing online is profoundly ‘democratic’. It allows universities that could not have participated for financial, visa or whatever reasons, to be part of an exchange with their fellow students and professionals from around the globe…
Finally, I would like to add and emphasise that real-life mediations, at least transborder mediations, [have already gone] online. And this will last. We are expecting that parties and their lawyers…will continue online mediation, even after the pandemic…”
Competition runner up, Sofia University, was represented by Dayana Zasheva and Kristina Gorcheva. The team also included student, Histo Manchev, and coach Dima Alexandrova.
Commenting on her team’s progress in the Competition, Ms Alexandrova, who has previously taken part in the Competition as a competitor, said:
“The last session was full of challenging situations, which the two teams managed to skillfully overcome. The final was close to a first real-life mediation, where parties carefully explore each other’s interests without committing to agreements. In my view as a Coach, this was a good example of how mediation should work.”
Without courses on interest-based negotiation at Sofia University, it is educational events such as the ICC Commercial Mediation Competition that foster the kind of passion and capacity that will fuel the next generation of peacebuilders.
Typically taking place in person in Paris, the 2021 Mediation Week took place via a custom-built platform—housing all event elements in one area, from networking rooms and mediations to social media feeds and participant profiles.
Following the conclusion of the Competition, ICC Mediation Competition’s Headline Sponsor, Clifford Chance, Ronald Austin shared remarks about the significance of the Competition and its real-world implications. Alexander G. Fessas, Director of ICC Dispute Resolution Services, followed Mr Austin by announcing the winners of the 2021 event via livesteam.
For more information on ICC mediation services, visit the ICC International Centre for ADR. To be involved in the next edition of the event, email [email protected] with the subject line: ‘17th ICC Mediation Competition – Register of Interest’.