BC’s Own John Sturrock in a Master Class with William Ury

On 4 September, Core Solutions sponsored a Master Class with William Ury for Collaborative Scotland’s Day of Dialogue.

Catering for growing demand for dispute resolution services in Asia

The Singapore International Mediation Centre is scheduled to open in November 2014 to provide international commercial mediation services with the support of the government.

The Centre will have an international board and commercial mediators from around the world will be asked to join its panel. Brick Court mediators have already been approached to join the Centre’s international panel.

The Singapore International Commercial Court will be a division of the Singapore High Court and have a number of attractive features such as hearing submissions on any law, rather than just Singapore law and allowing  foreign lawyers to appear.

In addition to the well-established Singapore  International Arbitration Centre, these two institutions will meet the growing demand for neutral venues in which to  resolve cross-border disputes making Singapore a multi door dispute resolution centre for international commercial disputes.

Initiating Litigation Isn’t Refusing Mediation If Other Party Hasn’t Sought It

A mediation provision in a real estate contract required a party who refused to mediate and then lost in litigation to pay the other party’s attorneys’ fees.

A US Federal Appellate Court, however, concluded that there must be a request for mediation before there could be a refusal; simply filing the litigation was not sufficient to prove a refusal to mediate. Accordingly, since the defendant who prevailed in the litigation had not sought to mediate, the plaintiff had not refused and was not responsible for paying defendant’s attorneys’ fees.
Thompson v. Cloud, Nos. 13-1120, 13-1121 (U.S.C.A. 1st Cir., August 20, 2014)

Who’s Who Legal Recognise Brick Court Mediators As Some Of The Most Highly Rated in the World

In August 2014 WHO’s WHO LEGAL recognised 298 of the world’s leading commercial mediators, saying each should be considered to be among the outstanding experts in their jurisdiction.

As part of the list of 298, Who’s Who also selected the 10 most highly regarded commercial mediators in the world and incredibly four Brick Court mediators featured in that top 10 list both 2013 in 2014.

“Several members of the UK Bar stand out for the quality of their mediation practices, and Brick Court Chambers is home to some of the most highly rated practitioners in the world.

Tony Willis is “part of the aristocracy” and a “premier league mediator”. Former managing partner of Clifford Chance, he is a three-time winner of our Mediator of the Year Award and has conducted more than a thousand mediations in relation to areas such as professional negligence, boardroom disputes, construction and insurance for clients such as corporates, individuals, government departments and regulators.

William Wood QC is said to be “at the top of his game, absolutely superb”. Interviewees say he is “always well prepared, and inspires the confidence of solicitors and clients alike.”

Stephen Ruttle QC is “first-rate” and has successfully mediated many hundreds of disputes, some of which involve billions of pounds.

Clients would go to Geoff Sharp “10 times out of 10”. A door tenant at Brick Court, he has conducted over a thousand mediations in New Zealand and worldwide, and is one of the most highly rated individuals on our international research.

John Sturrock QC of Core Solutions Group in Edinburgh was also announced as a Brick Court door tenant in May 2013, and is “internationally recognised as a major player in this area”.”

Civil justice reforms and the balance of power

Almost all mediations are strongly affected by cost considerations. Many are completely dominated by them. Costs are a crucial element in the weighing of risk and reward that parties are being asked to engage in at a mediation and mediation’s big attraction is often that it gives the parties the chance to settle and to “stop the clock”.

So it is unsurprising that the changing machinery for the incurring and recovering of legal costs in our civil procedure system is a matter of enormous interest, indeed concern, to the mediation community.

The Super-claimant

Mediators got used to working in the CFA/ATE universe. It had its problems but we got used to it. It was always difficult to negotiate with the “super-claimant” who had passed all the risks of defeat to a combination of his lawyers and his insurers. “Bill, what incentive do I have to settle for that?” such a Claimant would ask. “There is simply no down-side for me in fighting on.” The obligation to pay the lawyers and the ATE insurers (and often the funders too) might well mean that until a very substantial sum of money indeed had been tabled at a mediation, the super-claimant him- or herself was getting nothing.Continue Reading

It only takes a few moments…

It was just a few moments. “You can’t play on our course without proper golf shoes.” “But we played here two days ago in these shoes.” “My colleague must have made a mistake”. “But it was you who let us play…”. “It’s in our rules.” “Where?” “Here.” “No it’s not. There is nothing about soft spikes. Only shirts with collars…”

Those few moments remain seared on my brain. Out of the window went respect and courtesy. The trigger had been triggered. After a futile exchange, we grudgingly accepted the starter’s offer of golf shoes to wear, free of charge. And then there was the “you must have a bag each” rule. On a hotel 9-hole course? Forgive me but…..

My first drive was OK. Scrambled a par. On the par 3 second hole, my drive was short and the chip long, pumped with adrenalin. My drive at the third fairly bulleted towards the trees, where a passing youngster helpfully picked up my ball and came towards me, offering it to me with a smile.Continue Reading

An Asian Switzerland, Expectation and Regret

Having last week returned to New Zealand from Singapore where I was honoured take part in the launch of the ICC Mediation Rules, I saw first hand the support for mediation in Singapore from powerful institutions like the Singapore Judiciary and the Ministry of Law.

Singapore, and my guess is Asia in general, is in the grip of a trade boom – from my hotel window it showed. I counted well over 100 large ships at anchor in the bay awaiting their turn to come along side the container  port.  This amazing country, lacking in land and natural resources of its own, unloads raw materials and later exports them after refining, value adding and reshaping them. In this way, Singapore has become the world’s busiest transshipment port.

I was in no doubt that I was in the footsteps of many neutrals before me who, down through the ages, had learned to follow the trade routes in an effort to ply their craft.

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