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<xTITLE>International Mediation Developments</xTITLE>

International Mediation Developments

by Keith Seat
September 2012 Keith Seat
This is another in a series of updates on international mediation developments by News Editor, Keith Seat.
  • A U.K. appellate court criticized the lower court for limiting an award of costs to the prevailing party which had consistently refused mediation because of its reasonable belief in the strength of its case.  Swain Mason v. Mills & Reeve, [2012] EWCA Civ 498 (Ct. of App. April 23, 2012); Wedlake Bell (July 13, 2012)
  • The number of people seeking mediation from the Family Mediation Service in Ireland has jumped 40 percent as more mediators have been brought in to reduce the delay for the service, which is provided without charge by the government. (July 9, 2012)
  • England and Wales are considering an automatic referral to mediation of all cases below the small claims limit; a pilot project is being introduced in the Salford Business Centre.  Trethowans (July 26, 2012)
  • The South African government wants to use mediation to resolve disputes over pay and working conditions for miners in the face of violence that has killed dozens and ongoing strikes, according to the country’s Minister of Mines. (August 28, 2012)
  • South Africa’s Mandatory Court Mediation program will soon require all cases to go to mediation prior to trial; an internationally accredited mediation training program for both legal and non-legal professionals is being held in Cape Town, with another later in the year planned for Johannesburg.  SA Commercial Prop News (July 30, 2012)
  • South Africa is conducting a Voluntary Debt Mediation Solution pilot program which provides mediation services to debt counselors and consumers in disputes with credit providers.  ITI News (August 30, 2012)
  • A mediation center has been established at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry to resolve business and commercial disputes in and around Lahore, PakistanThe (July 18, 2012)
  • In contrast with other states in India, Maharashtra has been able to reduce the number of pending court cases, disposing of over 12 million matters over the last six years while only 10 million were begun, with mediation and an Indian process called Maha Lok Adalat viewed as key.  A Bombay High Court justice urged lawyers to make use of mediation to resolve cases.  The Times of India (August 22, 2012); The Times of India (July 29, 2012)
  • The Chief Justice of India urged use of mediation to resolve high-stakes commercial disputes between corporations and the government in a speech to the Third National Conference on Mediation.  Hindustan Times (July 8, 2012)
  • In an effort to avoid serious upset from failed negotiations, public hospitals in Shanghai, China must use third-party mediation in all disputes in which patients demand more than 30,000 yuan ($4,700); medical mediation committees were introduced a year ago and have settled over 70% of the 2,200 disputes they have handled. (August 29, 2012)
  • A third-party mediation mechanism will be designed to deal with investment disputes after Taiwan and China sign an investment protection pact, with in depth discussions between Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and China’s Ministry of Commerce.  Focus Taiwan (August 8, 2012)
  • While a variety of laws and policies have previously encouraged use of Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Philippines, an executive order signed by the president now requires all local and national government agencies to include ADR provisions in contracts under the Public-Private Partnership program, joint ventures and other projects.  Inquirer Business (July 12, 2012)
  • Australia’s attorney general stated at an Alternative Dispute Resolution workshop that the government’s proposed increase of court fees is intended to discourage litigation and encourage ADR.  Lawyers Weekly (August 7, 2012)
  • After six months’ experience with the Farm Debt Mediation Act in Victoria, Australia, which requires creditors to offer mediation before taking farmers to court, the Small Business Commissioner’s Office says that there is steady take-up of the service and that most disputes are being resolved.  Australian Broadcasting Network (August 23, 2012)
  • Jamaica is emphasizing mediation and arbitration for better governance as well as to reduce the court backlog of both civil and criminal matters.  Jamaica Information Service (June 30, 2012)


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.

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