Between 5th and 11th February 2021, the 16th ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition will gather more than 250 students and coaches, as well as more than 120 professional mediators and mediator trainers from around the world.  Student teams representing 48 universities from 39 countries will compete to resolve international business disputes.

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, for the first time the competition will be hosted online.  For the third year running, I will be a competition judge.  

2020 saw mediation tournaments go online, with INADR's virtual tournament hosted by Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania in July.  This was followed later that month by ADR ODR International's International Online Mediation Competition.  I was a judge at both and felt that both tournaments ran smoothly, and adapted well in converting (at short notice) from the usual 'real world' to a 'virtual world' tournament.

Now, some 6 months later, mediators, judges, students and coaches, are not only more experienced with virtual meetings and lectures, but also mediation tournaments and mediations. 

Last week I mediated two mediations, a boundary dispute and a TOLATA dispute.  Both mediations were undertaken remotely, through Zoom, and both settled.  Although I have been undertaking online mediations, alongside live mediations, for over 5 years now, the number of online mediations increased dramatically last year, given the Covid-19 related lockdowns.  Rather than postpone mediations, parties and their representatives have now generally adapted to online mediations, even for types of cases, such as boundary disputes, where this might seem at first glance to be difficult.  Photographs and plans, particularly marked with measurements and lines/alternative lines assist and give the parties the greatest chance of settling.  With TOLATA disputes, an exchange of valuation evidence prior to the mediation increases the chance of a successful mediation.