Part of Winning Mediation Team By Robyn Butler – 2nd Year Trainee John McKee Solicitors

Article by Robyn Butler

I recently returned from the Student UK Mediation Competition in Jersey which took place on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th January 2017.

After an internal selection process I was chosen to be part of the team which represented the Institute of Professional Legal Studies, Belfast.

My team were awarded 3rd Place after a gruelling 2 day competition which saw 20 teams from across the UK gather to compete for the top prize.

The competition was hosted by the University of Law Jersey taking place in Jersey's Magistrates Court and was supported by professional mediation service provider, 'The Resolution Group' who helpfully provided a mediation workshop to the students prior to the commencing their first round.

The competition took the form of 4 rounds in which each team member had to mediate twice and participate twice.

When mediating, my team was divided into pairs and were judged on a number of elements including communication, empathy, and ability to respond to their clients needs and of course how they maintained control of the session. This was a fantastic opportunity to improve on our skills such as conflict resolution, active listening and problem solving.

In order to keep the competition interesting though, marks were also awarded to the competitors when they were acting as the participant of the mediation. Those acting were judged on their ability to retain the confidential facts disclosed to them only 30 minutes before the mediation session and how they chose to release this information throughout the session. We were also judged on the way in which we reacted to the mediators questions based on the character brief we were given…which at times involved tears and tantrums!

The competition judges were comprised of university lecturers, members of the Criminal Justice System and prominent business men and women from across the UK.

The judges were clearly impressed with our efforts, both as mediators and participants as we came away having been placed 3rd in the competition.

The competition was rounded off with an award ceremony which took place in the prestigious Pomme D’Orr Hotel in the heart of Jersey.

The weekend was great fun for everyone involved and provided us with an opportunity to understand the value of mediation as an alternative to litigation, to become more familiar with key mediation techniques and to learn more about the mediation process in general so that we might be able to take these skills back to our firms.

I am now an associated member of The Professional Mediators’ Association and hope to continue developing my skills in this area.

Although the weekend was busy, it was a great experience which afforded each team an amazing networking opportunity as well as the experience of visiting the beautiful island of Jersey!