Mediation team takes international competition for fourth year

The University of Auckland has been crowned champion of the 17th edition of the ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition, following head-to-head virtual mock mediation sessions against 47 university teams from 33 countries.

Successful Auckland Law School students (l-r) Spencer Barley, Anna Paton, Karan Kalsi and Nick Stewart

The team, of Spencer Barley, Anna Paton, Karan Kalsi and Nick Stewart, was coached by Susie McCluskey and Keeha Oh.

Karan Kalsi, who along with Nick Stewart had represented Auckland on the digital stage in the final mediation, said it had been an immense privilege to be a part of the final against a formidable team and in front of extremely talented judges.

“Being a part of the 2022 ICC Mediation Competition has been a very rewarding experience. It provided an invaluable opportunity to improve our mediation advocacy skills and, more importantly, meet many like-minded students and experienced professionals in the field. The relationships we have built here and the conversations we have had will serve us well in the years to come,” he said.

Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor Penelope Mathew, said she was naturally delighted with the success of the University team, on winning the title for the fourth year in a row.

“Our students are undoubtedly world-class – and they are proving this in high pressure competition situations both face-to-face and online.

“Our aim is to equip our graduates with the skills to operate within Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally, and this sort of achievement reinforces how well this objective is being met.”

Our students are undoubtedly world-class – they are proving this in high pressure competition situations both face-to-face and online.

Professor Penelope Mathew Dean of Law

The University of Auckland team was sponsored by Shortland Chambers, which also hosted the online competition at offices loaned by Daniel McLellan QC, John Billington QC and Nic Scampion. The competition operated on Paris time, so the team had to deal with a series of early starts and late nights on their journey to the final.

The competition is part of The International Chamber of Commerce Mediation Week, its largest educational event of the year. Having gone digital due to the pandemic in 2021, the seven-day event now hosts more than 500 participants from 58 countries on a custom-built platform. The virtual venue incorporates all the aspects of the physical event, from the mock mediation sessions to networking rooms.

Natascha Tunkel, a partner at Knoetzl in Austria, was mediator of the final session of the competition.

“ICC Mediation Week continues to inspire the next generation of lawyers to develop an incredibly versatile skillset. As displayed in the finals, these students are capable of identifying and acknowledging both the legal aspects of the case and the companies’ interests. They understand that doing business also requires establishing rapport and how to pragmatically move towards a solution. It is truly impressive,” she said

Read more information about the ICC Mediation Week.

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