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All around the world - mediation not litigation

Mediation world news round up takes us to America, the Middle and Far East and Africa as well as the Hague.

First on our whistle stop tour of world mediation is Vietnam where a ceremony was held on Tuesday at the Vietnam International Arbitration Centre (VIAC) launching the Vietnam Mediation Centre (VMC).

The launch coincides with the announcement of a mediation code with financial support being provided by the World Bank Group member International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Whilst Vietnam continues to expand its trade agreements with other states this has inevitably led tom some disputes and the country wants to ensure the best methods of resolving issues are utilised, hence the focus on mediation rather than litigation.

President of the VIAC, Tran Huu Huynh said that Vietnam has stable and growing economy with the country’s government making commitments to reform the business practices which encourage investment and this will include legal frameworks for dispute resolution.

Deputy Director of the VMC Nguyen Manh Dung explained the codes and principles of the mediation code to be used by the VIAC.

With the involvement of the World Bank’s mediators the aim is to have the process and procedures which mirror mediation practices around the world, reflecting the key aspects of mediation, confidentiality, voluntary engagement (if possible) and professional etiquette.

The names of the director of the VMC (Dr. Nguyen Si Dung) and the first 11 mediators were also announced at the meeting.

Next we travel to the Hague where on June 8th an announcement will be made of the founding of a Global Centre of Excellence for resolving art disputes.

The announcement is expected to be made at the Louwman Museum where it will play host to this years Authentication in Art Congress.

The centre will aim to provide mediation services across the whole of the art world for disputes on contract, copyright and ownership claims as well as those disputes involving authentication.

We know from our friends at the Atelier Rose and Gray Gallery how critical these elements of art can be.

Of the centre’s work barrister and mediator at Art ADR Global Nicola Wallace, said there will be a “worldwide database of seasoned and internationally recognised experts, judges, arbitrators and mediators who can all be called upon to address the wide-ranging, often complex multi-party issues arising when matters of art and cultural heritage fall into dispute”.

William Charron of Pryor Cashman in New York is to lead the unit which has been founded by the Authentication in Art Foundation in conjunction with The Dutch Institute for Arbitration.

Over to Oakland County, Michigan where the former CEO and founder of Rockwell Medical Rob Chioini has been ordered into mediation over a dispute involving his sudden dismissal last week.

For several months shareholders had been seeking his dismissal and a company restructure but only recently were steps taken by the board to finally remove him.

Rockwell was founded by Chioini in 1995 and produces two main products FDA licensed for the treatment of anaemia and kidney dialysis.

But following a significant drop in both performance and share price the shareholders began to take steps to re-organise the company.

Chioini argues that the board had not authority to expel him but in an emergency hearing both Chioini and the former CFO Thomas Klema were both barred from entering the premises of the company by Judge Wendy Potts while the two sides undergo mediation.

The judge added that no major decisions could be made while in mediation.

Over to Jamaica where the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee had more awkward questions for the Ministry of National Security involving their multimillion dollar used car deal between the government and O’Briens International Car Sales. An investigation by the Fraud squad and the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency is already underway.

Diane McIntosh Permanent secretary in the ministry advised that the ministry had agreed to resolve the dispute with O’Brien’s by mediation and then, if that didn’t help resolve matters, to move to arbitration.

There was pressure for the parties to disclose what exactly would be discussed, but in line with the basic principles in mediation the committee was reminded that the exact areas were a matter of confidentiality.

Opposition MP Fitz Jackson asked “My understanding is that mediation is an option being pursued as an alternative to a legal recourse; what is it that the mediation exercise will be seeking to address?”

But sitting government MPs reminded Jackson “not to go down that road”, as there was in place an agreement not to disclose the specifics in public as these which could prejudice any future litigation.

Over in the middle east Khalil Al-Hayia said a further ceasefire agreement had been reached on the Gaza Strip.

He said that several mediations had taken place over the a number of hours on Wednesday and the Palestinian and Israeli factions had changed the rule of engagement.

“We reached an agreement to return back to ceasefire agreements,” unsurprisingly he added that the Palestinian elements will remain committed to the agreements provided the occupying Israeli force does likewise.

in Ghana at this this year’s International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers’ Flag-Raising and Wreath-Laying ceremony in Accra Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey urged world leaders to use alternative forms of dispute resolution including mediation to deal with new security risks including tackling the underlying root causes of inequality, disenfranchisement and unemployment,

Attending the 70th anniversary “UN Peacekeepers: 70 Years of Service and Sacrifice” were ministers of state, security officials and international diplomats.

Acknowledging that peace, security, development and human rights are all self sustaining and inter-supporting Ms Botchwey said

“We must therefore strengthen partnership with regional and sub-regional organisations and engage in peace building from national and regional perspectives with cross-cutting issues, including those focusing on youth empowerment and gender equality.

“In the wake of the ever-evolving trends of conflict management and peacekeeping, there should be a paradigm shift in our approach by expanding the pool of actors in those disciplines. In this regards, the central role of women and their potential in peace building cannot be over-stated,”

“It is in this regard that, Ghana, welcomes the Action for Peacekeeping initiative launched in March, this year by the Secretary-General of the UN, His Excellency Antonio Guterres which calls on Member States, the Security Council, Troop and Police – contributing countries to refocus the objective of peacekeeping operations are fit for the given purpose, in each peculiar situation.

“The initiative will also facilitate the mobilization of greater support for political solutions and make peacekeeping Missions stronger and safer by deploying well-equipped and well-trained forces. The initiative seeks to include more women in peacekeeping operations and calls on all stakeholders therein to fulfil their respective roles,”

Christine Evans-Klock UN Resident Coordinator paid homage to those who had died in the service of peace “on this 70th anniversary, we express our gratitude to the more than one million men and women who have served under the UN flag, saving countless lives.

“We honour the more than 3,700 blue helmets who paid the ultimate price. And we pay tribute to the fourteen missions working around the clock today to protect people and advance the cause of peace…As we recognize a legacy of service and sacrifice around the world, I am also committed to taking action for peacekeeping – action to make our operations safer and more effective in today’s challenging environments,”

Over to Ottawa and mediation is to be used in the dispute over the route that “Road 5” is to take with property owners and Putnam County Commissioners agreeing to mediate over their dispute.

Back in 2012 the commissioners began widening the road by 20 foot to help reduce the risk of and the damage caused by collisions on the route.

Property owners were offered financial compensation for the loss of land but this was never accepted.

Toledo-based attorney Linde Webb made the request for mediation on behalf of 13 property owners and it was approved by Judge Dale A. Crawford.

The mediator will be retired Judge Peter Handwork with his costs being paid for by the commissioners.

Hopefully your dispute won’t be a matter of life or death but whether it’s a property dispute, an employment issue or family inheritance you can tell by the way that mediation is embraced around the world that mediation is cheaper, quicker and less stressful than running any case to court.

Northwest Mediation can help with any dispute whether it's an employment issue or the sale at an under value of a property, a fight with a neighbour, family issues, commercial disputes or inheritance arguments contact Northwest Mediation on 07931318347 or via email at

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