Reflecting on the Mundi Mediatores Launch, Embracing Insights, and Anticipating the Future
The launch of Mundi Mediatores on January 30th 2024 at Ploum law firm in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, marked a pivotal moment, bringing together eminent speakers and insightful panelists who generously shared their experiences and perspectives on dispute resolution with around 200 participants from all around the world: Willy de Mooij (interviewed by Isabella Wijnberg), Donald Pols, Thorsten Bartsch, Marnix van Ginneken, Barbara van Koppen (interviewed by Huub Liefhebber) and Arnold Croiset van Uchelen. The event was opened by Rutger Ploum and the closing of the event, marking the official launch of Mundi Mediatores, was by Marry de Gaay Fortman.
The launch was preceded by 3 pre-launches in 2023, kindly hosted by Houthoff in Amsterdam. Here we discussed the Mundi Mediatores plans with mediator peers, lawyers and business users and gained valuable insights to further shape and improve on our the initiative to what it is today.
As we look back on the launch event, let's delve into the key takeaways that emerged from this enriching occasion, while also expressing our anticipation for the journey ahead.
1. Keynote speaker and panel discussion takeaways
ESG is becoming more and more important for companies and also finding it's way into ADR**: One noteworthy aspect is that although the "S" aspect of ESG* often takes a back seat it was brought to the forefront during the discussions on dispute resolution. Speakers, backed by valuable insights from the audience, thoroughly covered the entire ESG spectrum, providing a holistic understanding of mediation within this context. (*ESG: Environment, Social, Governance | **ADR:Appropriate Dispute Resolution)
User Perspectives and Openness Towards Mediation: Users expressed a genuine openness to embracing mediation but emphasized the need for practical guidance in its implementation. Acknowledging the fundamental truth that it takes two to tango, legal counsels shared their experiences, often navigating roles that blended company psychologist, informal mediator, and mediation advocate. Their endeavors centered around proactive conflict prevention, recognizing the tangible costs associated with prolonged legal proceedings. A service to reach out to the other party to invite them to mediate like Mundi Mediatores is providing is welcomed in this context.
Considerations Influencing Decision-Making: Environmental and social responsibilities, coupled with a focus on long-term stakeholder interests, emerged as crucial factors influencing the choice between litigation and mediation. The importance of preserving relationships with the opposing party was underscored, recognizing its significance in fostering constructive outcomes.
User Desires for Directive Mediators: A distinct desire for mediators who adopt a firm, directive approach became evident. Users articulated the importance of mediators who could confidently manage the process while also offering support on the substance of the mediation. In specific jurisdictions, including the Netherlands, this desire challenges prevailing opinions about mediator roles. Users appreciate mediators who not only navigate the procedural aspects but also bring substantive expertise or specialization in the relevant field. This nuanced perspective calls for a reevaluation of traditional mediation approaches, emphasizing the need for mediator proficiency in both the process and with subject matter expertise of the dispute.
A Call for Consideration and Customization: Users passionately called for more consideration of their unique experiences and a customized approach to mediation. This plea extends to working with mixed-modes, such as combining mediation with litigation, showcasing a nuanced understanding of diverse user needs.
Insight into NGO Dynamics: An intriguing insight emerged regarding Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) finding value in utilizing mediation. The ability to address and resolve disputes through mediation was seen as a productive alternative to seeking publicity through press engagements. The flexibility of mediation allowed NGOs to discuss and agree on publicity aspects while engaging in constructive discussions in a confidential process.
Diversity in Mediator Choices: The joint conclusion from the discussions emphasized the critical role of support in finding the right mediator and diversity in choosing mediators. This diversity extends beyond merely considering different styles; it encompasses various factors such as approach, cultural background, and personality. This is what Mundi Mediatores is specialized in.
2. Mini workshop finding the right mediator and process in cross-border mediation
Integral to the event was a demonstration of Mundi Mediatores' services, where a case study on a Trademark infringement claim between a Dutch and Chinese company was interactively presented by Jeremy Lack (InnovADR) and Manon Schonewille (Mundi Mediatores). The presentation covered all aspects of an appropriate mediator style, recommended processes, finding the right mediator, and innovative financing options for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes. The collaboration with InnovADR showcased the evolving landscape of ADR catalysts. You can watch this mini workshop here.
3. Spoken bookreview
Celebrating Toolkit Mediation Books: Adding to the festive spirit of the occasion was the launch of new editions of the Dutch and English Toolkit Mediation books. Arnold Croiset van Uchelen humorously emphasized the invaluable nature of these resources for both mediators and users:
"I am a numbers guy.The books are around 70 bucks, looking at Manon’s hourly rate of around 300, it is a no-brainer to get 100’s of hours of her time for such a small investment."
"It is a special achievement to be able to write so structured and in-depth about such a complex topic with so many facets."
"The crucial importance of building trust and in this book, you can exactly read how to do it."
As we reflect on these valuable insights, we eagerly anticipate the journey ahead with Mundi Mediatores. The event not only encapsulated the spirit of understanding, collaboration, and effective dispute resolution but also set the tone for the future. The commitment to diversity, user considerations, and innovative approaches in dispute resolution positions Mundi Mediatores as a dynamic force in the field.
A heartfelt thank you to Rutger Ploum, Willy de Mooij, Isabella Wijnberg, Jeremy Lack, Huub Liefhebber, Barbara van Koppen, Torsten Bartsch, Donald Pols, Marnix van Ginneken, Arnold Croiset van Uchelen, and Marry de Gaay Fortman for their invaluable contributions. Much gratitude to the sponsors of the Mundi Mediatores initiative: Houthoff (main sponsor), Ploum, Boom and Eleven Publishing and The Academy of Legal Mediation.
We also much appreciate the partnership and support of The International Mediation Institute, IMI.
As well as all of you who attended in person or online.