Mediate 2015 Conference - Synopsis 1

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Mediate 2015 Conference - Synopsis 1

Early December saw the Mediate 2015 Conference take place near Edinburgh. Over a hundred mediators and representatives from organisations from across Scotland met to hear speakers and workshop presenters offer their insights into the Power of Mediation. This was the theme for the Conference, jointly hosted by Scottish Mediation Network (SMN) and Queen Margaret University.

The opening plenary was launched by Robin Burley, Chair of SMN who welcomed Professor Petra Wend, Principal of Queen Margaret University. Professor Wend explained how the University is a place for both ideas and influence and co-hosting such a conference as this helps mediators to gather together, share ideas and experiences and influence practice. She went on to describe the University’s own dispute resolution course and its work in Nepal.

Robin then introduced Marco Biagi to the stage. As Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment he noted that mediation exists in all government departments and stressed the importance of early intervention in dealing with problems and how mediation has a part to play in that process. The Minister gave thanks to the SMN for promoting mediation across Scotland, talked about the cost of custodial sentences both in financial and human terms and reflected on the work carried out by the three small claims court pilots in Dundee, Perth and Edinburgh. The Minister went on to describe the Community Empowerment Act as legislation that gives communities more influence in decision-making that affects communities up to and including land ownership. The tenet is that people will come to see that “government is something done with them, not to them.”

Following Marco Biagi’s speech, the keynote speaker gave a thought-provoking lecture on Perceptions in Litigation and Mediation. Dr Tamara Relis (London School of Economics) has researched over 60 legal cases that went to mediation in Canada. More Mediate 2015 items to appear in future.

Written by
Robert Lambden
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