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Adeniyi Aje, ACIArb


Adeniyi Aje ACIArb is Marine Group Director at Tony Gee and Partners LLP, a specialist engineering consultancy to the worldwide construction industry.  He is also Co-Chair of CIArb's London and South East Young Members Group (YMG).

He outlines his career path as a civil engineer, how he came to be interested in alternative dispute resolution and how his membership of CIArb has proven invaluable to his profession.  As Co-Chair of the London and South East YMG, he is keen to ensure that all activities are as inclusive as possible to all interested in dispute resolution principles.

Can you tell us more about yourself, your background and how you came to be involved in alternative dispute resolution (ADR)?

In 2002, I took a year out in industry to work in the offshore geotechnical industry. I graduated from City University London in 2005 and was fortunate to have caught the attention of an industry representative during my final year review.

I received an offer to work for a maritime engineering consultancy in 2005 and spent the next three years designing a myriad of marine civil engineering structures. The following four years saw me working on large scale port construction sites during which time I obtained my chartered status as a civil engineer and had significant responsibility in the commercial management of project.

This was my first practical introduction into the world of claims management and ADR; and I was fortunate to have a civil engineering mentor who recognised my interest in dispute resolution and was also a member of the CIArb.

What was your route to membership?

During my time on site, my mentor encouraged me to seek formal training and join the CIArb community for further insight into the wider world of dispute resolution. I sat the Introduction to ADR course almost over five years ago. It is interesting to see the wealth of experience within the dispute resolution industry, all specialised in different works of life from fine art and oil pricing to finance and the construction industry.

Tell us more about what’s on the agenda for the London & South East YMG?

I worked in London from 2012 to June 2017. Like me, most young members who live in the South East commute to London for work so it made logical sense to organise joint events within convenient reach of work. We have been very fortunate to have the support of parties such as White & Case LLP and Grant Thornton UK LLP who have provided their facilities for hosting events at their offices in London.

The objective is simple really; organise “inclusive” events that young members will find informative and relevant in formal and informal settings. The inclusive part is all about recognising that there are non-lawyers who need dispute resolution experience, students who need career path guidance and practising lawyers who need more detailed insight on dispute resolution principles.

I suppose the challenge in organising successful events is the need to cater for the wide demographic above and this is where other young members will do well to contribute (i.e. giving feedback and suggesting ideas for beneficial topics).

How has your membership and involvement with CIArb benefited you?

Being a CIArb member gives me regular insights into legal principles and the current state of legal affairs. I suppose that doesn’t seem like much until you consider the cost of things going wrong in the construction industry.

My ability so foresee potential issues not just from a technical stand point but in poorly written tender documents, contract documents and being able to plan ahead for these potential risks is invaluable.

Perhaps more rewarding is being able to impart my knowledge of some legal principles to my mentees in the course of their development and this is where I realise how beneficial being a member of the CIArb has been.

I should probably say a little thank you to the highly experienced mediators, arbitrators and judges in the industry who have taken their time out to share their knowledge and experience either in writing or at the events I have been privileged to attend.

What are your priorities for the future?

Time pressures from professional and personal commitments means it is becoming more challenging to undertake formal or structured training but I have every intention of further developing my dispute resolution knowledge and experience going forward. In the meantime, it is my aim to continue to support the sharing of knowledge and experience in ADR however I can.