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CIArb Features

An update on CIArb’s Mediation Rules and Guidance Notes

11 October 2016 Features
By David Richbell FCIArb

When I was asked to be involved with the development of Mediation Rules and Guidance Notes for the CIArb I was very happy to agree.

I have been a Mediator for nearly 25 years, involved in both training and practice and have been for many years a member of the CMC Registration and Standards Committee. I have always wanted to influence, or at least be involved in, the development of the new Mediator profession.

So I agreed to take on this task, and was very happy when Tim Hardy (retiring Chair of the PSC) agreed to Chair the Mediation Sub-Committee in my place. My expectation is to devise/update the Rules and Notes as a discrete package, and then recede into the background whilst the Sub-Committee, Practice and Standards Committee, Committee of Management and the Trustees all did their best to improve on what I had drafted.

To start with, I have to admit that I have yet to be convinced about rules for Mediation. It is a flexible process, no matter what the jurisdiction, and I warm much more towards the Guidance Notes, and possibly a Code of Conduct, than to ‘rules’.

I instinctively react badly to the comment that Arbitrators have Rules, so the same should apply to Mediators (and Adjudicators). My response to that view is that Arbitration (and Adjudication) is a legal process and so rules inevitably apply. Mediation is a consensual and flexible process, with very little applicable law, so ‘rules’ may not be appropriate. 

My aim is to draft something for the Mediation Sub-Committee to consider by the end of the year, so that an agreed proposal can go to PSC, MC and Trustees for adoption by the end of 2017. You will no doubt know if this is realistic by this time next year!

I am happy for any Mediator to contact me with suggestions (hopefully positive), also Arbitrators, Adjudicators and Lawyers, but I make no promises about taking your views into account!


David Richbell FCIArb is a Civil and Commercial Mediator with over twenty years of experience. Originally from a construction background, he has mediated cases over numerous sectors both in the UK and in several countries overseas. His latest book How to Master Commercial Mediation - for mediators at any stage of their career was published in 2015.