This is another in a series of articles by Keith Seat, Mediate.com News Editor, regarding international mediation developments. Also be sure to see www.mediate.com/International.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is willing to mediate between a British oil company and a conservation group about whether exploration within a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Congo violates OECD business guidelines. Reuters (February 18, 2014)
The pilot project of Irish Mortgage Holders Organization to provide free mediation services to homeowners having difficulty making mortgage payments in Ireland to AIB Group is now being expanded to include other banks, including a subprime lender. In the first two months of the pilot, over 120 long-term sustainable solutions were reached with AIB out of 260 proposals submitted on behalf of customers. The Irish Times (February 3, 2014)
Mediation is coming slowly to Scotland with guidance from the Law Society of Scotland in November 2013 that solicitors must sufficiently understand alternative dispute resolution options to be able to discuss them with clients. In 2014, three Scottish universities are offering electives in mediation as part of their Diploma in Legal Practice. Kluwer Mediation Blog (February 13, 2014)
Three pieces of legislation to encourage mediation in the Netherlands are pending without clarity as to whether or how they will be enacted. One of the bills would regulate the mediation profession, while the others would promote mediation in administrative disputes and in civil and commercial matters. International Law Office (February 20, 2014) (Registration Required)
The Malta Mediation Centre was established over eight years ago and has taken extensive efforts to train mediators and market mediation and have everything in place, but it has never received a single request for mediation directly from parties in dispute and only 24 court-referred disputes. The Malta Independent (February 8, 2014)
The High Court of Peshawar in Pakistan has for the first time referred a case to mediation at the recently established Mediation Centre in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Judicial Academy. The News International (January 21, 2014)
In order to reduce medical disputes, including fatal attacks on doctors and medical staff, the city of Shanghai, China, is increasingly relying on mediation in disputes exceeding $4,900. Public medical institutes are required to participate whenever mediation is sought by a patient. To enhance patients’ trust, an advisory team of over 900 experts has been established. Some 3,000 medical dispute cases have gone to mediation in each of the last two years and about 80 percent were resolved. China Daily (February 21, 2014)
Panelists discussing the future of mediation in Australia divided on the issue of mandatory mediation. The percentage of cases referred to mediation by courts ranges from 45 percent in Western Australia to only 16% in New South Wales. Lawyers Weekly (February 18, 2014)
Keith L. Seat is a full-time mediator and arbitrator who can effectively assist parties in resolving a wide range of telecommunications, antitrust and other commercial disputes. With over twenty years of legal experience as a mediator, arbitrator, litigator, advocate before executive branch agencies, and key staffer in the legislative and judicial branches, Mr. Seat brings a wealth of experience to his work as a mediator and arbitrator to help parties reach successful resolutions of complex disputes.
Mr. Seat began his legal career in a federal clerkship with U.S. District Judge William H. Becker, and then litigated antitrust and commercial disputes for many years at a major Washington law firm, Howrey, Simon, Arnold & White, where he first worked on telecom and technology issues. In 1993, Mr. Seat was named General Counsel of the Antitrust, Business Rights and Competition Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, where he served for four years, playing a significant role in the enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Returning to the private sector in 1997, Mr. Seat rounded out his experience with a senior in-house counsel position at MCI, one of the nation’s largest telecommunications firms. At MCI, he gained a first-hand appreciation for the important perspective brought to issues and disputes by in-house decision-makers. Mr. Seat also deepened his knowledge of telecom issues and gained experience addressing competition-related issues in the corporate setting, as well as helping resolve disputes among large organizations.