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David Richbell

David Richbell, mediator, trainer and mentor and CMC Director died on 25th September 2018.

David had an illustrious mediation career and gave much to the mediation community in the UK and further afield.

David began mediating commercial cases in 1992 and mediated around 1000 cases in the intervals between training mediators.  He was always in demand as a commercial mediator and was continuously recognised as such by the leading legal directories. In 2014 he was recognised as “one of the top ten most respected commercial mediators in the world” by Who’s Who Legal and in 2016 as a Thought Leader in mediation.

David was particularly skilled in multi-party and highly complex mediations.  He mediated internationally, his mediations taking him to Italy, Bangladesh, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Bermuda and Dubai.  The value of the cases that he mediated range from £4,000 to £650m. He received consistently good feedback.

However, it is not just David’s excellence in mediation that was of note.  David was a true advocate of the need for mediators to continue learning and reflecting on their practice.  He continued to urge for the introduction of a peer review system where mediators are reviewed by their peers once a year or every 10 cases (whichever is longer). He developed his own practice over the years by training with CEDR, Endispute in Boston, the Harvard Advanced Mediation Program and the Regents College School of Psychotherapy and Counselling.

David also gave a huge amount back to the mediation community and the next generation of mediators.  On every mediation he attended, he took along an assistant, demonstrating the dedication that he had to sharing his experience with others.  He was always willing to share his wisdom and expertise with those who sought it. David was also a well-known and respected trainer having, in previous years, been Director of Training at CEDR and having taught mediation courses at CEDR, CIArb and leading an Advanced Mediators Course every other year.  He also wrote/compiled the CEDR Mediation Handbook. He frequently raised awareness of mediation overseas, particularly in countries where mediation is in its infancy and trained management, lawyers and judiciary in Russia, Indonesia, Finland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Bermuda, Kenya and the UK.  He was often invited to speak at conferences including, recently, CIArb’s Mediation Symposium where he shared his thoughts on mastering mediation. He offered his services to the mediation community by serving, for a number of years, as a Board member of the Civil Mediation Council. He also acted as adviser/trainer to several UK government departments (Treasury Solicitor’s Office, Department of Health, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and others) on the adoption of the Government pledge to use ADR in all appropriate government disputes and was an adviser to the Independent Doctor’s Forum on the adoption of mediation into their conciliation process.

David shared his knowledge through the publication of two books – “Mediation of Construction Disputes” and “How to Master Commercial Mediation”.  He wrote the mediation course for the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

In his spare(!) time he mediated religious disputes, trained Christian and Ismaili Moslem mediator groups, helping to implement the first Ismaili Muslim Conciliation and Arbitration Boards International Training Program on Mediation Held in London in the summer of 2000, and initiated (with others) a church conflict mediation network.

Before David died, The Rt Hon Sir Alan Ward, Chair of the Civil Mediation Council wrote the following about David:

“David is himself one of the very best. Coming from a business background, he understands commercial negotiation.

He has been in full-time practice as a mediator for nearly 20 years. He amply meets every qualification he prescribes for a mediator, who must be ‘patient, tenacious, enthusiastic, positive, energetic, humorous, humble, wise, non- judgemental, accepting and encouraging’.

In other words, a saint, or an angel – or both!

He can justly boast of a remarkable settlement record. Both the Chambers and Legal 500 Directories acknowledge his pre-eminence in the field.

He commands the respect of his peers across the world”

So many in the mediation world and wider owe so much to David’s kindness, willingness to share his wisdom and generosity in giving his time to his communities.


The CMC would like to thank Henrietta Jackson-Stops of In Place of Strife for writing the above. 

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