Bill Marsh last week chaired an 11-country meeting in Minsk, capital of Belarus, in partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, to focus on the resolution of commercial disputes across the region. An agreed communique expressing support will follow shortly.
The two days of talks welcomed representatives, including Ministers and Deputy Ministers, from Ministries of Justice and courts of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia, Tajikistan and Ukraine. They focussed on the challenges to implementing and growing commercial mediation across the region.
The meeting, opened and attended by Belarus Minister of Justice Oleg Slizhevski, is likely to constitute the most senior collection of representatives from those countries ever to meet to consider commercial mediation. Participants addressed the practical steps required for mediation in commercial disputes to become a reality, and shared experiences, obstacles and new thinking both from within and beyond the region.
Commercial mediation is widely recognised as an important component of effective justice systems, as well as a significant contributor to enhancing the investment and business climate.
Bill Marsh said: “I was delighted and honoured to welcome such senior representation from the 11 participating countries, and very grateful to Belarus Minister of Justice Oleg Slizhevski for welcoming us to Minsk for these discussions. Commercial mediation reforms have proved immensely effective in many countries and I have every expectation that these talks assist in will delivering progress on this front. I also thank the EBRD for demonstrating leadership in this field by funding the initiative”.
EBRD General Counsel Marie-Anne Birken said “The rule of law is of primary importance for our countries of operation. It is crucial for the development of proper judiciary and for shaping a better investment climate. In this respect the introduction of commercial mediation is another step in the right direction”.
Bill is delighted to feature again this year in the top-ranking categories of both Legal 500 2016 and Who’s Who Legal 2016, the latter identifying him amongst a small group of the world’s leading mediators.
Bill has been ranked in the world’s top ten mediators by Who’s Who Legal for each of 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, and topped the list in 2014.
Bill spent this week leading training for EU diplomats and public officials in political peace processes. An annual event, the course is run in conjunction with the Edward M Kennedy Institute, part of the National University of Ireland, and is aimed at enhancing the mediation and negotiation capacity of key public sector figures in the EU and beyond. The centre-piece of the course is a major two-day mediation simulation involving military and other personnel, during which the students are tested on their capacity to mediate under very intensive conditions relating to a major outbreak of violence.
The course habitually receives enthusiastic feedback and this year was no exception:
“…A truly immersive and transformative experience and a critical lesson in interpersonal communication.”
DB, Communication Adviser to the European Commissioner for Regional Policy
“Your mediation course was out of the top drawer, both in terms of content and delivery. The focus on the human side of mediation, and the emphasis on doing it (rather than just talking about it) through the Simulation resulted in a great learning experience. Your highly experienced team of facilitators and mentors complemented each other and went the extra mile to share their knowledge and personal insights; they really were outstanding.” SG, ISSAT/DCAF Geneva
“The course was one of the best educational programs I have ever undertaken. The combination of distance learning, classroom instruction and practical lessons provided the optimal learning experience. The credentials of the tutors were outstanding and the method of teaching highly effective. Although the course is for CSDP Mediation training, I believe it would be useful for anyone in a management position.” P Mac B- Legal and Public Affairs/PR consultant
“This is as real as it gets. I highly recommend it.” MEK, North Africa and Sahel, Crisis Management Initiative, Finland
Bill has received the Archbishop of Canterbury’s inaugural Hubert Walter Award for “outstanding services” to reconciliation. The newly-created award was conferred on Bill by the Archbishop, the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby, at a ceremony at Lambeth Palace on Thursday 31st March, 2016. The citation recognizes Bill’s pioneering commitment to conflict resolution and reconciliation in the national and international sphere, both within and beyond the church.
Bill was in Kyiv this week for meetings with Ukrainian politicians and others at the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament, pictured below), aimed at finding a way forward for Ukraine’s proposed mediation reforms. Several attempts to pass mediation legislation have previously failed, and views are divided over the best approach. Bill also met at length with mediators to discuss their concerns and aspirations.
Bill spent last week in Minsk, Belarus, working with a range of stakeholders to develop commercial mediation there. The week opened with a major mediation conference, with speakers from Belarus, Russia, UK, USA, and elsewhere, and opened by the Minister of Justice.
Over the course of the week, Bill delivered a two day advanced mediator skills course for regional participants, a mediation master-class, and seminars for the Ministry of Justice and the Minsk Commercial Court.
Bill Marsh has been named 2014-15 “Global Mediator of the Year” by Who’s Who Legal. Having been ranked in the world’s top ten for the last two years, he is this year’s most highly regarded mediator.
Coventry City FC’s return this week to playing at the Ricoh Arena by was mediated by Bill Marsh, at the request of Coventry Cathedral. Unusually for a mediation, the details appeared in the public domain and some of the press coverage can be found here.