The Global Pound Conference event was held in Toronto on October 15, 2016, the only Canadian venue.
In 2016 participants with an interest in the legal system are invited to join a world-wide, 15-month-long conversation being convened by the International Mediation Institute. There are currently 40 events planned in 31 countries starting in Singapore in March 2016 and ending in London, U.K. in July, 2017.
Forty years ago modern mediation began after the Roscoe Pound Conference in St Paul, Minnesota in 1976, a historic gathering to discuss ways to address then-current dissatisfaction with the American legal system and to reform the administration and delivery of justice. The Global Pound Conference is the much-expanded update of that event.
At all Global Pound Conference events core questions are posed and then voted on by participants with the goal of collecting information to develop future initiatives for better access to justice, locally and globally.
In Toronto several panels of local experts responded to the voting results that day on each series of core questions. This was added to the engaging day-long discussion of better, more appropriate dispute resolution for commercial matters and how to get there.
The Global Pound Conference participants/ stakeholders are categorized and comparisons are made in the responses between the categories. The stakeholder categories are Party/User, Advisor (lawyer, consultant), Adjudicative Provider (arbitrator, judge), Non-Adjudicative Provider (mediator, conciliator), and Influencer (educator, researcher, government).
The Toronto data identified some thought-provoking comparisons.
For example, Parties, Advisors, Adjudicative Providers, and Influencers rated financial outcomes, such as damages as the most important before starting a process in commercial dispute resolution. In contrast only Non-Adjudicative Providers rated financial outcomes slightly lower than and about equal to action-focused outcomes (prevent or require an action from a party).
Another interesting comparison between the stakeholder groups in Toronto was that Parties, Adjudicative and Non-Adjudicative Providers ranked the combination of adjudicative and non-adjudicative processes (such as arbitration or litigation with mediation or conciliation) as the most effective dispute resolution process. In contrast Advisors and Influencers ranked preventative, pre-dispute or pre-escalation processes as most effective.
All stakeholder groups in Toronto ranked Advisors as being most likely to be resistant to change in commercial dispute resolution practice.
Another interesting comparison was the stakeholder group perceptions of the role parties want lawyers to take in the dispute resolution process. Parties said they want lawyers to work collaboratively with them to navigate the process. Advisors, Adjudicative and Non-Adjudicative Providers all said that the parties want lawyers to speak for them or advocate on their behalf.
For those of us working in commercial dispute resolution despite the disappointingly small sample size in Toronto, there is lots to learn already from the local data, and there is much more to discover as the global data is collected.
For full information and the app to see the voting results check out the Global Pound Conference.