The bi-annual National Mediation conference is being held at the Gold Coast with pre-conference workshops beginning on Sunday 11 September. The conference itself runs from Monday 12 September to Wednesday 13 September and there is also a Dispute Resolution Research Forum being held at Bond University on Thursday 14 September. A number of members from the Australian Dispute Resolution Research Network will be presenting aspects of their research (a copy of the program can be found here):
Susan Armstrong – A session on “Family Dispute Resolution in multicultural and multifaith Australia – What does it mean for Australian Muslims?
Pauline Collins – A member of the organising Committee for the conference
Jon Crowe – A plenary session on “Two Models of Mediation Ethics”
Kathy Douglas – A session on “Disputes in vertical living: Facilitating conflict resolution”
Sue Douglas – A session on “Power in mediation”
Rachael Field – A session on “Family violence: Innovations for the next decade”
Danielle Hutchinson and Emma-May Litchfield – A session on “The future of dispute resolution: A global perspective”
Lola Akin Ojelabi – A session on “Mediator attitudes toward confidentiality and public interest/policy issues: Responses from Australian and US (Californian) mediators”
Olivia Rundle – A session on “Including trans, gender diverse, intersex and/or non-heterosexual people in mediation service delivery”
Bobette Wolski – A session on “The revised NMAS Practice Standards: Mind the gaps”
This list does not include some presentations that are being delivered on the Research Forum Day, but it goes without saying that the Netowrk is also well represented at the forum. If you are a member of the Network and I have inadvertantly left a session of yours off this list, please let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will add your session to the list.
On Friday 4th September 2015, LEADR and IAMA, two of Australia’s largest dispute resolution service providers completed the final stage of their amalgamation. LEADR and IAMA formally integrated on 1 January 2015. Previously, they had worked as separate organisations, seeking to improve awareness and quality of ADR practices in Australia. To an extent, they were also in competition with each other to attract membership fees, and to provide training programs to members of the public. The final part of their amalgamation was to announce a new name and logo. The new name is “Resolution Institute”. The logo is pictured below.
Because organisations like the new Resolution Institute offer so many services and purport to do so many things, I’m always keeping my eye out for little statements that neatly sum up what they really do. I haven’t been able to find a branded Resolution Institute constitution yet, but I suspect that it will contain a purpose/object section similar to the LEADR & IAMA constitution.
The Objects of the company are to:
- promote the use of dispute resolution (DR) practised by its Members;
- foster the use of DR to prevent, manage and resolve conflict and disputes;
- contribute to the growth and development of DR through consultation with government, business, individuals and other organisations;
- provide information about DR and about DR practitioners to the public;
- develop and support high standards of practice in DR;
- provide and encourage the provision of education, training, accreditation and research in DR; and
- provide services to support the professional development and practices of DR practitioners.
With the people sitting behind this new organisation, there is every reason to think this merger will work. One question (and perhaps a little controversial) I’d like to propose to blog readers is this:
Are there downsides to LEADR and IAMA merging?
In a recent post, I highlighted several textbooks that had been published by the ADR Research Network in 2014. This post is a quick summary of some of the journal articles produced by the network in 2014.
Jonathan Crowe, ‘Ethics and the Mediation Community’ (2015) 26 Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal 20.
Katherine Curnow, ‘Information, power and relationships: Minimising barriers to access to justice for end of life disputes’ (2014) 23(3) Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal 137.
Kathy Douglas and Claire Coburn, ‘Attitude and Response to Emotion in Dispute Resolution: The Experience of Mediators’ (2014) 16 Flinders Law Journal 111.
Susan Douglas and Kathy Douglas, ‘Re-imagining legal education: mediation and the concept of neutrality’ (2014) 7 Journal of the Australasian Law Teachers Association 1.
Stephanie Duffy and James Duffy, ‘An analysis of dispute review boards and settlement mediation as used in the Australian construction industry’ (2014) 30(3) Building and Construction Law Journal 165.
James Duffy and Rachael Field (2014) ‘Why ADR must be a mandatory subject in the law degree : A cheat sheet for the willing and a primer for the non-believer’ (2014) 25(1) Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal 9.
Mary Anne Noone and Lola Akin Ojelabi, ‘Ethical Challenges for Mediators Around the Globe – an Australian perspective’ (2014) 45 Washington University Journal of Law and Policy 145.
Lola Akin Ojelabi, “Dispute Resolution and the Demonisation of Culture” (2014) 25(1) Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal 30.
2014 was a busy year for the ADR Research Network in terms of research output. To mark January 2015, here is a quick snapshot of some of textbooks produced by the network last year. We will follow up with a post about 2014 journal articles in the not too distant future.
David Spencer and Samantha Hardy, Dispute Resolution in Australia: Cases, Commentary and Materials (Thomson Reuters, 3rd ed 2014). Find out more about this book here.
Michael King, Arie Frieberg, Becky Batagol and Ross Hyams, Non-Adversarial Justice (Federation Press, 2nd ed 2014). Find out more about this book here.
Rachael Field, James Duffy and Anna Huggins, Lawyering and Positive Professional Identities (LexisNexis Butterworths, 2014). Find out more about this book here.
A recent post by Dr Becky Batagol had me thinking about the importance of good data collection in the field of ADR. ADR proponents make many claims about the benefits of ADR. We also know that most dispute resolution processes occur behind closed doors, which challenges our ability to make sweeping statements about “what goes on” in ADR processes. Good data, collected from third party facilitators, disputing parties and non participant observers, helps us to make strong claims about the efficacy of ADR forums.
Such data may help us to more clearly consider questions that we believe we already know the answer to. Do ADR processes really preserve relationships when compared to litigation? Are the values of self-determination and autonomy actively promoted in ADR? Do parties focus more on their interests, rather than their positions in ADR? Are remedies achieved in ADR more flexible and varied, compared to court adjudication?
ADR researchers also need to consider methodological approaches that allow us to say things like:
- ADR is cheaper than litigation.
ADR is quicker than litigation.
Settlement rates in ADR are high (compared to what?)
Party satisfaction with ADR processes is high.
When I think about these claims, I think about the (initial) words of Thomas Jefferson and the American Declaration of Independence… “We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable”. I think good data allows us to cast sunlight on many of ADR’s claims. It is important that we do shine light on these claims, so that users and providers of ADR services understand what ADR can and cannot sensibly lay claim to. Becky made reference in her earlier post to data that would be useful to have:
- settlement rates
factors that may influence settlement rates, such as referral stage
what happens when disputes are not settled at ADR
participant satisfaction with ADR and perceptions of fairness, the time and costs expended by participants and service providers.
For members of the ADR research network and readers of this blog – what other data do you think we should be trying to collect??