BAC Newsletter Issue 10
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To Promote the Development of China Mediation System in a Deeper and Wider Way
——The 2nd Mediation Training Program Co-sponsored by BAC and Straus Dispute Center, Pepperdine University, US

     On December 14th, 2008, the 2nd Mediation Training Program co-sponsored by Beijing Arbitration Commission (BAC) and Straus Institute, School of Law Peperdine University, US (Straus Institute), was closed successfully in the continual applauses of the students.

     This is the second training for mediators co-sponsored by BAC and Straus Institute. As early as in March, 2008, to work in the implementation of the “Conciliation Rules” formulated by BAC, BAC has cooperated with Straus Institute, a leading runner of arbitration and mediation training field in US, and introduced the advanced culture, skills and experience of commercial mediation in US to China. As the first collision and communication of Sino-American mediation cultures, the first Mediation Training made a huge success and was reported by China’s “Legal Daily”, US “Los Angeles Daily Journal” and “San Francisco Daily” the first time.

    If we say the 1st Mediation Training was the first successful step of BAC toward the development of mediation system, the 2nd Mediation Training showed BAC would continually deeply probe into the development of the mediation system, as well as cultivate and dig out competent professional mediators in order to satisfy the demands of the involving parties and market competition. This training promoted the mediation mechanism to all circles in the society in a deeper way with great significance. The participants of the training included the senior arbitrators of BAC, judges from the Supreme People’s Court, the Superior People’s Court of Beijing Municipality and some primary people’s courts as well as officials from relevant industries and authorities. Now more and more people have found the advantages of commercial mediation, such as high efficiency, convenience, economy and respect for the wills of involving parties, though, it is a new field in China. However, commercial mediation has very high requirement on the mediator whose professional level will directly impact the effect of the dispute resolution. Of course, rich experience is absolutely necessary for a mediator, but the systematic training is more important. Just because BAC sees the development outlook of mediation system in China and knows mediation is a dispute resolution method requiring strong professional knowledge and experience, it actively cooperates with Straus Institute that is a leading training institution in US with decades of training experience in order to cultivate a group of mediator teams with international professional level. As stressed by Ms. Wang Hongsong, Secretary-general of BAC in the address on the Mediation Training, BAC is confident about the development outlook of the mediation, and willing to take the responsibility for promoting mediation system throughout the country and make its contribution to the development of the society.

    During the 6-day training program, the students from China and US were all deeply feeling the difference and amalgamation between the mediating thoughts of the two countries under different cultural backgrounds. The students were interested in the teaching methods of American teachers that were vivid in combination theory and practice. They were also impressed by these teachers’ professional dedication. The teaching style of Professor Thomas Stipanowich was very profound and well-mannered. Professor Peter Robinson was passionate and Professor Jim Craven was very funny in the classes. They presented a set of real complicated mediation program to the Chinese students with their own special methods, simple and effective. Starting from the general introduction of the dispute resolution, in combination with real cases and simulation of mediation procedures, the program analyzed different negotiation models, uses of mediation methods and mediation skills of mediators, especially the differentiation of “interest on the line” (specific appeal) and “interest under line” (interest and appeal hidden) that was a deep revelation to the students. Some students believed it was a very important thought enlightening them on how to find out and focus on the interests and demands hidden behind the involving parties so that they could settle the disputes in a deeper level. In addition, the program introduced the mediation system comprehensively systematically from the views of sociology and psychology by stressing the ethic rules, confidentiality obligations and lawyers’ roles in the mediation.

    According to the interviews on the program, over 90% students expressed this training program was very valuable and gave them many new conceptions and understandings on the role of the mediator. A student told us about his impression on this training, “It is very nice to hear the professional study from US, which is just the absence in China. We really appreciate this chance offered by BAC for its broad foresight”; “Fully know the thoughts and skills of mediation overseas so I am confident about the outlook of this dispute resolution method”; “With strong applicability, the chance offered by BAC is helpful for us to enhance case handling quality”. Also some students gave very high appraisals to the teaching styles of the teachers, “Feel the dedication of Americans in mediation and the creative thoughts they brought to us”; “The contents of the training was very advanced and the angle of the view was very special; the training focused on practice”; “ The problems and the puzzles involved are very familiar in daily practices, therefore we think the training is very practicable for us”; “A teaching method with strong interaction, enlightenment and discussion”; “ The teaching methods of those teachers make the communication between students and the interaction between teachers and students more easy; the grouping discussions on the case give students more profound understanding and feeling about the mediation knowledge”.

     The professors from US were also impressed by the active responses of students to the program. After the program, Professor Thomas Stipanowich sent his views to BAC.

     “We at the Straus Institute are thrilled by the response to the BAC Mediation Training Program. The venerable culture of conciliation in China is entering a new era, and the program sponsored by BAC will undoubtedly play a key role in bringing about important changes and new opportunities for the resolution of business disputes. We highly value our partnership with the BAC, so ably led by Wang Hongsong, and look forward to new challenges.”

     Professor Jim Craven also mentioned in the interview:

     “These experiences are very special, this class we just have is responsive and interactive. This time, several judges attended the training. They mentioned to me that while they have been doing mediation or arbitration for many years, they were excited about some new ideas that they heard just as we were excited about hearing new ideas to us from Chinese approach to mediation, which is a privilege for us. And this time I feel this is a wonderful place to teach because the students are eager to learn and they make an absolute joy to teach. I am excited about the possibility the mediation as a way to resolve commercial disputes for china because this particular approach or style is a bit new here.”

    The fact that BAC actively cooperates with the most influential dispute resolution training institution in the world as the pioneer of the mediation field shows BAC is not only persisting in justice and efficient arbitration, but also constantly exploring into a new way to the development of ADR such as independent commercial mediation and is brave in innovation and taking social responsibility and historical mission.

Feedbacks of Training

    Notes of Editors: after the program, BAC made a questionnaire survey on the students, the contents of the questionnaire involved training effect, the teachers, revelations and suggestions, the difference and commonness between Sino-American mediation thoughts, the role orientations of mediators and the arbitrators, etc. Among 20 students made valid feedbacks, 90% expressed this Mediation Training was very helpful for the dispute resolution; 100% were satisfied by the teachers as well as the organizing and service of the training; 65% students told BAC they often used the thought of “a package of solution” advocated by this training in practices. Some feedbacks from students were as follows:

     ★Through this program, we feel that mediators shall use more body languages; it is very important to obtain the trust of the involving parties; it is more important that we shall use comprehensive negotiation to create values than the dispute itself, i.e. make bigger “Cake”.

     ★ The thoughts of judging and settling problems have been adjusted (by this program), realized we should consider more interests in depth instead of being limited to the legal level in mediation.

     ★The limitation of existing thought shall be broken up, and we shall comprehensively consider the interest of each involving party and find out a creative solution.

     ★Through this program, I know I can use multi-discipline knowledge such as psychology, culture science and public relationship science to boost the mediation and communication, and sweep out the obstacle as well as lay foundation for the mediation agreement.

     ★We shall put emphasis on the interpersonal respect and communication because the sincere communication always leads to the truth; there is much commonness of arbitrators and mediators. The major difference is that the former focuses more on “legal fact”, while the latter stresses more on “objective fact”.

     ★ The mediation system and relevant practices of US are developing and operating under its special social institution and judicial system. We should absorb their thoughts, philosophies and skills about mediation in combination with our practices.

     ★ Mediation is a multi-dimensional, comprehensive art and subject that can be flexibly used according to the specific individuals, matters and times, it involves language science, psychology, laws, general rules and social orders, customs and others, so it requires high quality, profound knowledge and deep realization on the whole situation.

    ★Mediators play their roles with unlimited procedures, therefore mediators face more challenges. The works of mediators rely more on the connection of culture, personal ability and the trust from involving parties.

     (Gu Xuan)

The Supreme People’s Court held “ADR Seminar” in BAC

     On December 18th, 2008, Mr. Jiang Huiling, Vice Director of Judicial Reform Office of the Supreme People’s Court and staff of Investigation and Research Office visited BAC, and held a special topic seminar about “Some Opinions about Establishment of a Perfect ADR (a draft for discussion)” drafted by the Supreme People’s Court in order to ask for opinions and suggestions. There were over 10 participants attending the seminar including Ms. Wang Hongsong, Secretary-general of BAC, members of the subject team and other relevant personals.

    Ms. Wang Hongsong put forward some suggestions on the draft in many aspects, and hoped the draft could put emphasis on the principles of the People’s Courts in offering great support for the development of the commercial arbitration and the ADR out of the lawsuit. Mr. Jiang Huiling introduced the background of the draft and the relevant interpretations, of which, Mr. Jiang laid stress on the original intention and the practical problems of judicial affirmation system about medication, and showed the Courts would put priority on the mechanism of “Connection of Lawsuit and Mediation” and ensure the development of mediation and other ADR institutionally.

    At the meeting, Ms. Wang Hongsong made a brief introduction about the efforts BAC had made in promoting ADR, and mainly introduced the development of the international commercial arbitration and BAC’s new measures in commercial arbitration. Mr. Jiang said he had participated in the 2nd Mediation Training co-sponsored by BAC and Pepperdine University, US, that just ended in December, and felt it very helpful. Mr. Jiang gave a high appraisal on the explorations and the efforts of BAC in many fields like mediator training, mediator behavior rules as well as selection and engagement standards of mediators, and hoped BAC would make further efforts in these fields and spread its successful experience.

    Two parties also made a deep discussion on the concrete contents of the daft. As a member of the subject team of “Establishment and Perfection of ADR” of the Supreme People’s Court, BAC will actively support the Supreme People’s Court in the research and the promotion of ADR with its experience and advantages for years in the field as well as make contribution to the establishment and perfection of ADR in China.

     (Jiang Lili)