Success at Asia-Pacific mediation competition

21 July 2017
From left: Victor Liu, Ana Lenard (Coach), Rima Shenoy, Tunisia Napia, Matthew Jackson, and Andrew Yan Feng Lee (Coach). Photo courtesy of ICC Australia.

A team from the Auckland Law School placed second overall at the inaugural International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Australia Asia-Pacific Commercial Mediation Competition, held in Melbourne in July. The team, consisting of students Matthew Jackson, Rima Shenoy, Tunisia Napia, and Victor Liu, and coaches Ana Lenard and Andrew Yan Feng Lee, also received the Resolution Institute award for the best team in Australasia.

The competition is the first ICC-run mediation advocacy competition in the Asia-Pacific region, and is a regional preliminary round for the ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition held in Paris in February 2018.

A total of 14 university teams from Australia, New Zealand, India, and Singapore gathered in Melbourne to work with leading international commercial mediators during 26 rigorous and fast-paced mock mediation sessions over three days. Students were required to resolve complex cross-border business disputes through mediation. This involved developing a theory of the case, analysing their client’s interests, and executing a realistic negotiation strategy in the mediation itself.

Auckland Law School’s team made it through to the preliminary finals where they competed against Auckland University of Technology in a dispute over the quality of a vineyard. The grand final against the National University of Singapore was about funding for building a space rocket. The Auckland team was narrowly defeated in the final.

Professor Andrew Stockley, the Dean of Law, congratulated the team members on their success. He said that they and their coaches had worked extremely hard and the Law School was very proud of their achievement. "It is a great result to be ranked second from the 14 teams that competed and have done so well against other law schools from New Zealand, Australia and Asia.”

Team member Matthew Jackson, said “the competition has been the highlight of my studies so far. What I particularly enjoyed was observing how other teams approached the problems and dispute resolution differently, and engaging the wisdom of the numerous professionals involved with the event. I have come away from the experience with increased confidence in my advocacy abilities, and a newfound focus on mediation.”

Coaches Ana Lenard and Andrew Yan Feng Lee, who competed in the 2016 finals of the 11th ICC Competition in Paris, have built upon the strong foundations that Senior Lecturer and former Auckland Law School Coach, Nina Khouri, established before she became a judge and mediator at this year’s Asia-Pacific competition.

Ana Lenard, said, “I am immensely proud of how the team worked together and built strong and supportive relationships. We continue the tradition of being one of the top mediation advocacy law schools in the world.”

Andrew Yan Feng Lee said, “it is a fantastic result for the University of Auckland. I am absolutely thrilled with the team’s achievements. Months of training and preparation definitely paid off in the end.”

Thanks go to the local mediators, practitioners, and past team members who generously worked with the team leading up to the competition: Miriam Dean QC, Ian Macduff, Paul Sills, Mark Kelly, David Clark, Michael Greenop, Honor Kerry, Antonio Bradley, Samuel Brothers, Chris Brunt, and Caroline Coates.