Looking back: reflections on the Bucerius competition

The sixth annual international ICC mediation competition 2020 was organized by the Bucerius Law School (the “Hochschule für Rechtswissenschaft”) in Hamburg, Germany, on November 20-22. Due to Covid restrictions this year’s competition was fully online, with multiple Zoom sessions throughout the weekend.

Roderic van Voorst tot Voorst shares some of his thoughts, the day after.

Eline van Tijn, Tabitha van den Berg and I participated as mediators and judges during this competition. With participants from four continents and many different time zones, hosting the event online was a complex puzzle for the organizers.

It was an impressive array of highly capable and reputable professional mediators, assisting as judges and mediators. The respective negotiating teams and all of their coaches, who thanks to this year’s online edition did not have to travel to Germany, were from universities spanning all sides of the world. This created an even more competitive and challenging environment. A variety negotiating skills as well as cultural differences in the approach of negotiating provided for a large number of very interesting sessions.

Complex and engaging cases of business disputes enabled a potentially real-life setting for a multi-facetted negotiation process. It was truly enjoyable to see how the many student teams found ways to bring the cases to life, finding the delicate balance between furthering their own interests whilst operating in a collaborative manner and show respect for the opposing party.

The team at Bucerius Law School did an outstanding job in the organization, given the enormous amount of people involved, arranging the technical aspects of all the Zoom sessions, setting up the schedules taking into account the many time zones involved, providing each and every participant with the correct information in time in advance and assisting technically during the entire competition where necessary. Great work!

Despite all the praise for an excellent competition that went smooth and mostly perfect, I think we all hope that next year’s edition will be “on the ground” again, so that people can actually meet, talk, discuss, have a drink and dinner together and enjoy each other’s company!”

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