Our final researcher profile for this month is Dr Lola Akin Ojelabi, Senior Lecturer at La Trobe Law School, La Trobe University. Lola is also an Accredited Mediator under the NMAS.
In regards to how research fits into her professional identity, Lola says:
As an academic, I have two major roles: research and higher education teaching. Research has been a major part of my work and my research informs my teaching.
Why did you become interested in the dispute resolution field?
I developed an interest in DR through my involvement in negotiation, mediation and settlement conferences as a practising lawyer for over 10 years. I was particularly interested in how the benefits of DR could be realised while still addressing social justice issues. My LLM minor thesis is on International Commercial Arbitration and PhD on Culture and Conflict Resolution.
What is your particular area of dispute resolution research interest?
My DR research interest is on justice and quality in ADR and Conflict Resolution more broadly. I am particularly interested in the extent to which codes of ethics contribute to maintenance and improvement of practice quality and assist practitioners to address justice issues that arise in ADR. I am also interested in the extent to which culture influences ADR practice and how practitioners address inequalities howsoever arising.
Whose research has influenced you? Why/How?
My research has been influenced by a number of scholars from different disciplines.
I have been influenced by the writings of legal philosophers including John Rawls. I am fascinated by his view on constructing rules for a well-ordered society from the ‘original position’. I have also been influenced by Kevin Avruch’s writings on culture, power, and identity, the correlation between diversity and inequality and how conflict resolution practitioners address the issues.
What dispute resolution research are you involved in at the moment?
My current research is on ethics in ADR with a focus on justice and quality in ADR practice. A research project conducted in Australia is now being replicated in California and the goals are to:
- Examine similarities and differences in approaches to ethical and practice issues between US (Californian) and Australian mediators;
- Generate discussion within the mediation sector and among policy and law makers on how best to address justice issues in mediation practice;
- Harness the wisdom of experienced mediation practitioners on issues of justice, using different scenarios which mediators deal with in practice.
A Symposium on ADR Ethics for ADR Practitioners is scheduled to hold in Melbourne on the 19th of June, 2015. The symposium brings together ADR academics and practitioners to discuss ethical and practice issues in ADR.