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CMC Annual Conference 2022 – The First Half.

CMC Annual Conference 2022 – The First Half.


“The CMC annual conference is a chance for our mediation community to get together and talk to each other.” says CMC Board Member and Conference Chair Mia Forbes Pirie. “It also allows us to revisit our values, purpose and aims together and take a look at where we are and what is being achieved in the wider mediation landscape.”

Read Mia’s full review of the first conference day. Don’t hesitate to share any feedback with us you have regarding the event. The CMC is always curious to hear your opinions and improve its offering to the membership.

CMC Conference 2022 - Learning from the past and looking to the future

In addition to being a CPD opportunity, the CMC annual conference is a chance for our mediation community to get together and talk to each other. It also allows us to revisit our values, purpose and aims together and take a look at where we are and what is being achieved in the wider mediation landscape.

This year, we intended to start with a talk from Lord Bellamy KC. At the last minute, he had to be in parliament and could only be with us later, so after a warm welcome from our Chair, Rebecca Clark, and me, we opened with Peer Mediation. This may seem strange to some, but we see Peer Mediation as central to helping mediation become more mainstream and helping the public understand what it is all about.

Peer mediation empowers children and adolescents to resolve innumerable problems and sometimes helps children with behavioural issues to overcome them. A huge benefit in and of itself, it should, over time, also grow the overall mediation pie, as those children understand the benefits of mediation and carry them through into their lives. If you would like to get involved, please get in touch with our speakers from the Peer Mediation Network, Ellis Brooks, Kimberley Humphrey and Susan Kurr.

We then took a look at mediator bias and partiality with Gillian Caroe, Lead Faculty for CEDR’s Mediation Skills and Advance Negotiation Skills courses. After taking us on a journey into bias based on in-depth research and illustrated with powerful examples and challenging questions, Gillian left many of us with little doubt that although neutrality is something we aspire to, it is technically impossible to achieve.

Lord Bellamy KC then took the floor and mentioned that when he had started his career few had heard of mediation or the profession of a civil mediator. We have come a long way. He complimented us on how carefully, we maintained the high standards in mediation and the thoughtfulness with which we consider how to help parties resolve cases. He mentioned the three things that we needed to focus on.

Lord Bellamy KC - Opening Speech CMC Conference

First, information and understanding, clarifying the misconceptions around mediation. In particularly, making sure that people know that it is not another way of determining who is right and who is wrong but a way of finding solutions. People need to understand what mediation really is about.

Secondly, we need to make sure that people can have confidence in the system and the quality availability of mediators and be clear what the benefits are.

Thirdly, we must think hard about the issue of access to justice. If we make a step towards compulsory mediation as part of the court process. We have to think very hard about sub-contracting or privatising part of the justice system. That involves questions of cost and the importance of making sure the court is ultimately there if a resolution cannot be achieved. Making sure there are processes to take into account inequality between the parties and that we have not bult in a step that involves a delay and increased expense. The submissions made to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) are currently being looked at to see how we can achieve a sensible framework. Lord Bellamy KC also cautioned in this regard that we need to bear in mind that “it is a sad fact that not everyone caught up in the justice system actually wants justice”.

He left us with these uplifting words “We want to move towards a system where litigation, as we’ve traditionally understood it, is the last resort and not the first resort and that more people are supported to resolve their disputes consensually through better information, a system that gives confidence and addresses the various imbalances that might arise if we don’t do both of these things.”

CMC Conference 2022 - Speakers & sessions

At the end of the first day, our CEO, Paul Adams, provided a run through of the CMC’s strategy looking at where we’ve come from, how well we’ve done, where we are going and how we get there. We have achieved a lot in a short space of time. Also, covid put pressure on the courts and has driven the government to look at automatic referral to mediation sooner than it may otherwise have.  Membership is rising significantly. We paused research because of the MoJ call for evidence to make sure we did not invest in redundant research but will get going with that again soon. We put a lot of effort in responding to the MoJ call for evidence which is key to our mission and feel that that has been very useful. Overall, we are heading in a very positive direction.

The second day built on the first but you will have to wait for our next messenger to find out more about day two. We hope you can handle the suspense…

Please do send us your feedback if you haven’t if you haven’t already.

An international mediator, facilitator and coach, Mia has had careers in law and science. In addition to her corporate clients and former career as a solicitor in a top City of London law firm; Mia has worked with governments, religious organisations and Members of Parliament. She has advised the US Department of Energy on using facilitated negotiation to develop controversial legislation.

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