Dispute Resolution, in Person, for Real

So, I’m excited!

Along with 13 other members of the ADR Research Network, we have been meeting in the glorious sunshine at Queensland University of Technology’s Garden Point Campus this week. Meeting for real, in person. With coffee in hand and fuelled by victuals kindly provided by QUT law school, we have be discussing the most difficult aspects of dispute resolution theory and practice.

The ADR Research Network was founded in 2012 by a group of dispute resolution academics from across Australia. We live and work in the far corners of this big country, from Hobart to Townsville, from the Gold Coast to Bundoora. Some of us are mediators, some lawyers, some legal philosophers, educators and we all live and breathe dispute resolution. We had all met at conferences before and read each others’ work over the years and a few of us have even written together. But we wanted to do more than just see each other occasionally and referee each others’ work: we wanted to engage with each other on what we are working on, we wanted to debate the hard stuff, we wanted to share a laugh.

As well as running this blog, we have decided to write a book together, based around the theme of changing professional identities for both lawyers and mediators in dispute resolution. The increased use of ADR and institutionalisation of processes such as mediation challenge us to rethink the role of lawyers and mediators in dispute resolution. Questions arise such as is mediation now a profession? Is there a single mediation community or are there multiple communities of mediation practice? How do we train lawyers to achieve justice in mediation? What is the basis of an ethical decision making process for mediators? How best do we define mediation and is that important? Should neuroscience affect mediator practice?

The most exciting thing about our book project is that it is so collaborative in nature. Each chapter will be written by a single author but with extensive feedback from the group as a whole and from individual authors. This will create a highly reflective and tightly structured collection that we hope will be central to understanding contemporary dispute resolution practice.

We are still writing and putting together a book proposal. To give you a sense of what we are all writing about, here’s a way to see the tweets we have made over the past few days at the workshop. We have been using the hashtag #adrresearchnetwork. These tweets summarise the ideas raised by each author in our chapters and some of our thoughts around the table as a group.

Stay tuned …