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CONTACT Magazine (Vol.18 No.1 – April 2018)

The first issue of the rebranded CONTACT Magazine — with a brand new editorial and design direction — produced by MEP Publishers for the Trinidad & Tobago Chamber of Industry & Commerce

the chamber and its

the chamber and its members mediation How to settle a dispute Based on personal experience at the Dispute Resolution Centre, a mediation expert reflects on how to manage the process WORDS By: niall lawless photos courtesy: the dispute resolution centre In November 2017, I worked at the Trinidad and Tobago Dispute Resolution Centre (DRC) for three days as an International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)- appointed mediator in a multi-million US dollar engineering dispute, which resulted in a settlement. Mediation is not adversarial. It works best when the participants trust the process, and are willing to cooperate to solve a shared problem. Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed in writing, which allows the parties to take risks when they come to deal with individual items. Five stages The whole process is confidential, private and structured. It has five stages: introduction, information exchange, option generation, negotiation, and conclusion. Information exchange and option generation are by far the most important. Commercial mediation begins with the parties agreeing to mediate, and usually ends with the parties settling their dispute. The parties are the stars; usually they are common-sense business people motivated by revenue and contribution, and a desire to continue future cooperation. The mediation outcome is affected by whom the parties choose to attend the mediation meetings on their behalf. Each party should bring a lead negotiator with full authority to settle the dispute, and to sign the settlement agreement. The role of lead negotiator is challenging, as it requires the evaluation and development of options, and being able to respond to any new information provided by the other party. The lead negotiator needs the support of respected, trusted and valued colleagues. The lawyers The parties’ lawyers can make or break the mediation. Good mediation lawyers can move seamlessly from advocate to advisor. In their role as advocate they will succinctly summarise legal principles, but not in an adversarial or combative way, gifting litigation risk to the mediator. They allow the business principal to take the lead, preparing their clients by offering 44 Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce

advice, guidance and information on negotiation and mediation. Good mediation lawyers cope well with being challenged privately by the mediator: they are experienced and wise, and they are committed to finding the best possible solutions for their client. When the ICC supports the mediation, the mediator and the parties use the ICC Mediation Rules, administered by the ICC International Center for ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution). For example, the selection of the mediator takes into account such considerations as nationality, language skills, training, qualifications and experience, and ability to conduct the mediation in accordance with the ICC Rules. The Centre is constantly striving to improve the ways in which the needs and expectations of the users of ICC Mediation can best be met, so the mediator and the parties are asked to provide comprehensive feedback when the mediation ends. Top Niall Lawless, mediation expert. Below Elizabeth Solomon, director of the Dispute Resolution Centre 45 Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce

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