Student success in international mediation advocacy competition

24 February 2017
ICC team

The University of Auckland Law School placed fourth at this year’s ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition in Paris. The competition, run by the International Chamber of Commerce, requires students to resolve complex cross-border business disputes through mediation.

A total of 65 university teams from more than 30 countries gathered in Paris for six days in February to work with top international commercial mediators in over 147 rigorous and fast-paced mock mediation sessions.

Students are required to represent one party in each dispute, quickly develop a theory of the case, analyse the client’s core interests, objectives and alternatives and then execute a realistic negotiation strategy in the mediation itself.

The Auckland Law School team of Antonio Bradley, Samuel Brothers, Christopher Brunt and Caroline Coates, together with coaches Nina Khouri and Ana Lenard defeated teams from the United States, Georgia, Denmark and Singapore to qualify for the final rounds.

The team then beat Budapest’s Eötvös Loránd University in a merger and acquisition employment dispute to advance to the quarter-finals. During this round the team represented a property owner against a non-profit entity attempting to purchase land for development purposes.

The team defeated Pepperdine University to advance to the semi-finals against College of Law from Israel in a dispute relating to the effect of Wi-Fi on bees. The team was narrowly defeated in the semi-final and placed fourth overall.

“This is a wonderful achievement,” says Professor Andrew Stockley, Dean of the University of Auckland Law School. “All four members of our team, coached by Nina Khouri and Ana Lenard, performed incredibly well to end up as semi-finalists of this prestigious competition.

“I got to see the team compete in the final elimination round stages and was delighted to see them represent the Auckland Law School so magnificently. The team was narrowly defeated in the semi-final by the eventual winners of the competition.

“Their performance is a great tribute to the commitment and coaching provided by Nina Khouri and Ana Lenard and the talent of our students.”

Samuel Brothers, who with Antonio Bradley represented the Auckland team in the semi-final, says, “I found the competition in equal parts challenging and rewarding. After each round of mediation, the theories we learned were cemented with feedback that helped the team improve.

“I have enjoyed an experience and development that money cannot buy and I feel fortunate to have participated in such a great event. I am delighted to have gained new friends and skills, and developed greater confidence in my interpersonal abilities.”

Coach Nina Khouri says, “I am so proud of this year’s team. They worked hard over summer and delivered spectacularly in Paris. We’ve done well at this international competition four times now and the feedback I’ve received from mediators around the world is that this latest result cements the University of Auckland’s reputation as a leader in mediation advocacy education.”

Coach Ana Lenard says, “The thing that I am most happy about after watching the team members in the final rounds was how they managed to display their skills while also having fun. They brought their characters to life, and managed to strike a good balance between collaboration and testing potential solutions against their best alternatives outside of mediation.”

Thanks go to the local mediators, practitioners and past team members who generously worked with the team over summer: Warren Sowerby, Miriam Dean QC, Geoff Sharp, Ian Macduff, Anna Quinn, Paul Sills, Mark Kelly, David Clark, John Walton, Carol Powell, Helen Rice, Barbara Mcculloch, Jessica Carter, Anet Kate, Jack Oliver-Hood, Alice Wang, Stephanie Panzic, Katya Curran, Michael Greenop, Honor Kerry, Andrew Lee — and to Resolution Institute and Geoff Sharp for sponsoring the team.