Kate Yeoman: ADR Research Network 10th Annual Roundtable 2022

Kate Yeoman discusses her paper on ‘Designing and Engaging with a Structured System of Reflective Practice’ with members of the Australasian Dispute Resolution Research Network.

The System of Reflective Practice described in this talk is the intellectual property of Kate Yeoman. All rights reserved.

NMAS Review Survey open now!

The NMAS Review Team are pleased to announce that the NMAS Review Survey is now open from 14 February – 4 March 2022.

The NMAS Review Survey is the important final stage of our consultation process for the current review of the National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS). The Mediator Standards Board (MSB) will conduct further consultation in response to the recommendations arising out of the review.

Who can answer the survey?

This survey is designed for the entire dispute resolution community. We need your help to extend the invitation to people or organisations in your network. With your support, this survey has the potential to be one of the largest data gathering processes of its kind ever attempted in Australia, and will make an important contribution to the field of industry-based research into dispute resolution.

As academics, we all know that the the more people who answer the survey the more robust the data will be. We want all stakeholders to be represented — practitoners, organisations, academics, users — anyone with an interest in dispute resolution can make a valuable contribution. Consider distributing the invitation to your students who are participating in ADR subjects, members of committes (e.g. ADRAC, The Alernative Dispute Resolution Committee, etc.) lawyers who work with mediators, other academics, mediators and other non-determinative dispute resolution practitoners.

What is in the survey?

The NMAS Review Survey considers the current Approval and Practice Standards for NMAS accredited mediators (the Standards), the technical and structural elements of the NMAS (the System), as well as other areas for further investigation that have arisen from consultation so far. 

The survey was developed in response to consultation and designed using a well-established methodology for the development of standards. Analysis of the survey will inform recommendations made to the MSB in relation to the review of the current NMAS.

The survey is made up of two parts:

Part 1: The Professional Practice Standards

Everyone who participates in the survey is asked to complete this section. It will take approximately 60 minutes to answer all of Part 1.

Part 2: The Approval Standards and System

We encourage everyone to complete this section. MSB Member Organisation hold specific responsibilities under the NMAS and will be automatically directed to complete both Parts 1 & 2. All other participants will be given the option to complete Part 2. It will take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

FAQs

We anticipate that you may have questions. The NMAS Review Survey may look unlike any survey you have completed before — and there are several reasons for this.

For FAQs and a recording of recent NMAS Review Survey Information Session hosted by Mediation Institute, please visit NMAS Review Survey FAQs.

Thank you all for your support with the NMAS Review.

The NMAS Review Team

Associate Professor Grant Morris: ADR Research Network 10th Annual Roundtable 2022

Associate Professor Grant Morris (Victoria University of Wellington) discusses his paper on ‘Dispute Resolution in a Pandemic: The Impact of the COVID Pandemic on the New Zealand Dispute Resolution Landscape and Beyond’ with members of the Australasian Dispute Resolution Research Network.

Save the Date: NMAS Review Survey release announced

NMAS Review Survey 14–28 February 2022

The NMAS Review Team is pleased to announce the final stage of the consultation process for the current review of the National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS) – the release of the main NMAS Review Survey. The NMAS Review Survey will be open for two weeks from 14–28 February 2022.

We need your help to get the message out.

This blogpost provides insight into:

  1. What to expect
  2. What we want from you
  3. Background information on the NMAS Review

What to expect

We will open the survey to the entire dispute resolution (DR) community and others with an interest in the future of mediation. With your support It has the potential to be one of the largest data gathering processes of its kind ever attempted in Australia.

You may notice that the survey is a little different from surveys you may have completed in the past. We think the DR community is up to the challenge, however, this might be one of the most challenging surveys our community has ever seen.

The questions are asked in a specific way using a well-established methodology for the development of standards. Participating in a survey of this type is a demanding task that requires deep reflection. It is rigorous and complex, perhaps unexpectedly so, as it examines all the information from the current NMAS — both the NMAS Standards and the System — as well as some questions that have emerged from our consultation with the DR community so far.

What we want from you

What we are asking of you is really important. The Mediator Standards Board (MSB) has recognised how valuable participating in this research is, by endorsing an hour of CPD for those who participate.[1] We hope that by sharing this with you early you can be prepared to put time aside to complete the survey.

Every voice counts.

Please consider who else you might wish to share this post with to spread the message as widely as possible. With your help, the invitation to participate in the survey can be extended to thousands, including mediators, other non-determinative DR practitioners such as conciliators and FDRPs, community and other organisations, government bodies, academics — the list goes on.

We know from running previous surveys that results are impacted when a group is unrepresented in the data. For example, in the NMAS Effectiveness Survey, judge mediators as a group were under-represented and, as a consequence, we could not include them in comparative analysis with other types of mediators. What a missed opportunity!

The NMAS Review Team wishes to thank everyone involved for their generosity and valuable contribution to the consultation process so far. It has helped us to develop and refine the main part of the consultation — NMAS Review Survey. Contributors include:

  • 29 Reference Group members
  • 50 Workshop participants
  • 600 participants in the Effectiveness Survey
  • 46 people volunteered to pilot the NMAS Review Survey

The NMAS Review is an independent process, however, we would also like to acknowledge and extend our thanks to the MSB, in particular those on the NMAS Review sub-committee, for their support through this process.

Background information on the NMAS Review

The NMAS Review Hub has been specifically constructed to provide up-to-date and transparent information about the review. It includes reports, videos, resources, news updates, background information and more. We invite everyone in the DR community to visit and/or subscribe to receive updates or for a link to the NMAS Review Survey once released.

Emma-May Litchfield and Danielle Hutchinson

Leading the NMAS Review Team


[1] If you are an NMAS accredited mediator, we have been advised by the MSB that you can collect one CPD point for completing this survey under Section 3.5 of the NMAS. Please contact your RMAB for clarification.

Professor Bernie Mayer’s Opening Keynote: ADR Research Network 10th Annual Roundtable 2022

Welcome to the ADR Research Network’s 10th Annual Roundtable 2022.

Due to the current Omicron COVID situation and its impact on Network members, this year’s Roundtable is being held through the Blog instead of face-to-face via Zoom on 7-8 February 2022 (as had been originally planned).

We are excited to have agreed on this creative solution with our presenters and our esteemed Keynote Speaker – Professor Bernie Mayer.

This first post for the Roundtable is our Opening Keynote Address (followed by a brief discussion with Bernie and some Network members). It is the first in what will be a series of 20-minute presentations posted by Network members in the coming weeks. We are aiming to add one presentation a week.

The Blog provides opportunities for comments and discussion. You are invited to be as interactive and responsive in your feedback and contributions to discussions as possible.

We are hoping this will provide a flexible, Covid-safe, asynchronous way to proceed with the Roundtable which will also be of benefit to the authors in terms of disseminating their work to a wider international audience.

We are delighted to have Professor Bernie Mayer as our Keynote Speaker for this 10th Anniversary Roundtable of the ADR Research Network. Bernie needs little introduction to dispute resolution scholars, students, practitioners and enthusiasts as he has been an internationally influential thought-leader on dispute resolution theory and practice for many decades. He is speaking in his Keynote about his new book – co-authored with Jackie Font-Guzman – entitled The Neutrality Trap – Disrupting and Connecting for Social Change. Please do post comments, thoughts and responses to the keynote via the Blog.

We look forward to collegial and robust Roundtable discussions this week – and in the weeks ahead – as this new format for the Roundtable unfolds. We look forward to engaging with you online.

With our warmest wishes

Professors Rachael Field and Jonathan Crowe

Co-Convenors of the ADR Research Network and the Roundtable for 2022

Faculty of Law, Bond University

Professor Bernie Mayer’s Opening Keynote: ADR Research Network 10th Annual Roundtable 2022

Welcome to the ADR Research Network’s 10th Annual Roundtable 2022.

Due to the current Omicron COVID situation and its impact on Network members, this year’s Roundtable is being held through the Blog instead of face-to-face via Zoom on 7-8 February 2022 (as had been originally planned).

We are excited to have agreed on this creative solution with our presenters and our esteemed Keynote Speaker – Professor Bernie Mayer.

This first post for the Roundtable is our Opening Keynote Address (followed by a brief discussion with Bernie and some Network members). It is the first in what will be a series of 20-minute presentations posted by Network members in the coming weeks. We are aiming to add one presentation a week.

The Blog provides opportunities for comments and discussion. You are invited to be as interactive and responsive in your feedback and contributions to discussions as possible.

We are hoping this will provide a flexible, Covid-safe, asynchronous way to proceed with the Roundtable which will also be of benefit to the authors in terms of disseminating their work to a wider international audience.

We are delighted to have Professor Bernie Mayer as our Keynote Speaker for this 10th Anniversary Roundtable of the ADR Research Network. Bernie needs little introduction to dispute resolution scholars, students, practitioners and enthusiasts as he has been an internationally influential thought-leader on dispute resolution theory and practice for many decades. He is speaking in his Keynote about his new book – co-authored with Jackie Font-Guzman – entitled The Neutrality Trap – Disrupting and Connecting for Social Change. Please do post comments, thoughts and responses to the keynote via the Blog.

We look forward to collegial and robust Roundtable discussions this week – and in the weeks ahead – as this new format for the Roundtable unfolds. We look forward to engaging with you online.

With our warmest wishes

Professors Rachael Field and Jonathan Crowe

Co-Convenors of the ADR Research Network and the Roundtable for 2022

Faculty of Law, Bond University

NMAS Review – release of Part 2 of the Effectiveness Survey Report

Following on from the NMAS Review September 2021 Update, Part 2 of the NMAS Effectiveness Survey Report is now available to download on the NMAS Review Hub and the Mediator Standards Board (MSB) website.

This blogpost provides:

a. Insight into Part 2 of the NMAS Effectiveness Survey Report

b. Background information 

We welcome your thoughts and comments about the Reports!


a. NMAS Effectiveness Survey Report – Part 2

What have we learned so far?

Part 2 of the Report provides insight into whether mediators perceive the National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS) as helpful in relation to six contexts:

Rank

NMAS Context

All ‘helpful’ responses

% all mediators

1

Promoting mediator credibility (Survey Q64)

82%

2

Training & accreditation (Survey Q65)

76%

3

Promoting mediation as a profession (Survey Q66)

75%

4

Participating in CPD (Survey Q67)

72%

5

Guiding everyday mediator practice (Survey Q68)

69%

6

Promoting or developing mediation services (Survey Q69)

67%

In response to the main themes arising from the findings, Part 2 also includes six preliminary recommendations, signalling potential priorities for the MSB or its member organisations (MSB Orgs).

Here is a sample of the findings and recommendations contained in Part 2:

1. ‘Overall, the NMAS was perceived as helpful. Importantly, MSB Orgs and mediators
agree that the NMAS is most helpful in relation to promoting mediator credibility.
This is a tremendous endorsement of everyone involved in the development and
implementation of the NMAS, especially those who, from the outset, recognised
the nexus between the quality of ADR services and community confidence in ADR.’

RECOMMENDATION: ‘Celebrate those who have contributed to the development and implementation of the existing NMAS.’

2. ‘When asked about how often they refer to the NMAS, specifically Part II Approval Standards and Part III Practice Standards, MSB Orgs reported referring to them more often than mediators. This was particularly so in relation to initial accreditation, where 26% of mediators reported never referring to the Approval Standards.’

‘Despite less than 2% of mediators reporting zero years of accreditation, 9% of mediators suggest they never refer to the Approval Standards in relation to reaccreditation requirements, and 11% report never referring to the Practice Standards in regard to competency and practice requirements.’ 

RECOMMENDATION: ‘Investigate ways to maximise mediator perceptions of NMAS helpfulness, including ways to promote mediator engagement with the NMAS, particularly the Approval and Practice Standards.’

3. ‘When referring to the NMAS Standards, It has become apparent that mediators and Member Orgs often mean the system as a whole. This confusion has the potential to have a negative impact — particularly given its use as a public-facing document and reference point within the intake process.’

RECOMMENDATION: ‘Clarify the existing nomenclature to ensure the distinction between the NMAS — which covers the entire accreditation system, including the responsibilities of the MSB and MSB Orgs — and the Standards, which describe the approval and practice requirements for mediators.’

graph-picture

b. Background

NMAS Review

In 2020, the Mediator Standards Board (MSB) engaged the team at Resolution Resources to review the National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS). We encourage everyone in the dispute resolution community to learn more about the purpose and methodology used to conduct this current review.

NMAS Effectiveness Survey

The Effectiveness Survey was conducted in March 2021. The purpose of the survey was to ascertain the extent to which MSB member organisations and mediators perceive the NMAS Standards to be helpful. It was also an opportunity to gather data about the mediation community, some of which now informs the design of the upcoming main NMAS Survey. The Effectiveness Survey Report will be released in four parts:

To review the complete summary of findings and recommendations, we invite you to read Parts 1 and 2 of the Effectiveness Survey Report – available to download now on the NMAS Review Hub. The MSB is also releasing findings on their LinkedIn page and website. Follow them for more updates.


The NMAS Review Hub has been specifically constructed to provide up-to-date and transparent information about the review. We invite everyone in the DR community to visit regularly and/or subscribe to receive updates on the release of Parts 3 and 4 of the Effectiveness Survey Report and information about the upcoming NMAS Survey!

The NMAS Review Team

Emma-May and Danielle

Call for Papers: 10th ADR Research Network Round Table

Call for Paper Proposals

The 10th Annual Research Roundtable of the Australasian Dispute Resolution Research Network (ADRRN) will be held online via Zoom through the Bond University Law Faculty at the Gold Coast on 7-8 February 2022.

ADRRN Roundtables provide a collaborative and supportive research environment for work-shopping papers-in-progress. In addition to presenting and receiving feedback from attendees, participants can opt to have their paper commented upon by a Network colleague. Time allocated for a presentation is usually 30 minutes for the presentation, and 30 minutes for feedback, discussion and commentary.

The ADRRN is calling for 2022 Roundtable abstract submissions of no more than 300 words (plus a short bio and photo) by 30 November 2021 via email to the 2021 Network Presidents and 2022 Roundtable Conveners: Rachael Field (rfield@bond.edu.au) and Jonathan Crowe (jcrowe@bond.edu.au).

Presenters are also asked to convert their abstract into a short blog post of no more than 1000 words prior to or after the Roundtable. Blog posts will be published on the ADRRN’s webpage:  https://adrresearch.net/ .

Paper abstracts can focus on any dispute resolution theme and scholarly, critical and/or empirical perspectives are particularly welcome. Submissions from postgraduate students and early career researchers are encouraged, but Roundtable papers are presented by a spread of participants across all stages of an academic career. All submissions are considered. Papers should constitute work in progress.

A selection panel will select Roundtable papers from the abstracts submitted. The following selection criteria will be applied:

  • The submission takes a scholarly, critical and/or empirical perspective on an area of contemporary interest in dispute resolution theory or practice;
  • The submission is about a work in progress; and
  • The abstract is well-written.

Participation at the Roundtable is on a self-funded basis.

Attendance at the Roundtable is only open to individuals who are contributing to the scholarly discussions by presenting a paper, or commentating and/or chairing a session.

Key dates:

Deadline for paper abstract submissions: 30 November 2021

Date for notification of acceptance: 17 December 2021

Full papers for peer review (optional) due: 24 January 2021.

Blog post due: 25 February 2022 (for publication as the March content of the Blog).

For further information, please contact:

2021 Network Presidents and 2022 Roundtable Conveners: Rachael Field and Jonathan Crowe via rfield@bond.edu.au pr jcrowe@bond.edu.au.

About the Australasian Dispute Resolution Research Network

The Australasian Dispute Resolution Research Network brings together leading dispute resolution scholars and provides a collaborative environment to foster, nurture and enrich high quality research and scholarship. The Network is inclusive and forward-looking and seeks to bring together emerging, mid-career and established scholars to build excellence in the field and provide peer support. Network activities are expressly designed to provide a supportive and collegial presentation environment in which meaningful discussion and constructive feedback is provided to the presenter.

Network activities include maintaining the ADR Research Network blog at www.adrresearch.net on Twitter and conducting annual scholarly round tables of work in progress since 2012.

Guest blog post proposals are always welcome. Contact the general blog editor Rachael Field at rfield@bond.edu.au.

Membership of Australasian Dispute Resolution Research Network

The Network eschews hierarchies and unnecessary administration, so we do not currently have any membership list or legal organisational framework. The way to become a member of the ADR Research Network is to subscribe to the blog. This is our primary means of communication.

Subscription will mean that every time a post is made on the blog you will receive a notification alert to your email address. Other ways to follow blog activity are through Facebook “ADR Research Network” and Twitter @ADRResearch.

A VIRTUAL CONFERENCE STILL BRINGS US THE HEART

A reflection on the National Mediation Conference 2021 by Elizabeth Rosa

This year the National Mediation Conference (NMC) was recently held in Alice Springs, but delegates could only attend virtually as dictated by the Covid-19 restrictions in many states. It was intended that the conference explore the practice of mediation, in particular the dispute resolution work of Indigenous communities in this area, the Red Centre – the heart of the land we call Australia. There is something about the fact that the conference still went ahead, through a virtual platform, that could be regarded as a metaphor for our profession and the work that we do.

There had been many hopes both on the part of the NMC organisers and the delegates; many travel plans and many preparations for presentations. There were the hopes of the Indigenous peace-makers, and other Alice Springs mediators, that their distant Australian colleagues would be amongst them for a few days and would learn of the work that they do. The health emergency interrupted these plans. The organisers and hosts of the conference included Traditional Owners and Elders of the land of the Arrernte people around Alice Springs (Mparntwe). Indeed, the conference was held at the invitation of the Elders. The organisers and Elders were looking forward to welcoming the delegates, and the delegates were no doubt disappointed at the missed opportunity for the connection that they had hoped for, as well as the experience of being in Alice Springs, close to the heart of the land and its Indigenous population.

As mediators, we deal with loss. We deal with certain expectations that the mediation participants have had, for example, for a good marriage or even a good workplace relationship. But those expectations have not been met and the mediator works to understand how the parties feel about this and their capacity to propose options to create a new reality.

In their work, the mediator delves into the participants’ experience of the change that has occurred. The mediator works with heart to listen empathetically to the participants, to try to connect with them in order to understand their wants, needs and fears. Listening with heart could also be called listening with ‘the spirit’, as Susan Hamilton-Green, a family mediator from Melbourne, discussed in her talk on Motivational Interviewing. Susan looked at how listening this way can help a participant explore what it is that they want and how they can overcome the barriers to achieving this.

The organisers of the conference no doubt considered what their hopes for the event were and what those of the delegates would have been. And for them, there was the question: ‘How to accept that the opportunity of a face-to-face conference has been lost and how can the needs of the delegates be met in a different way?’

What were the needs of the delegates? I venture to guess, that for many, the need was to learn further skills to reinforce their existing practice; to hear about new and diverse ways of approaching their work; to learn about areas of dispute resolution different from their own; to be informed of peace-keeping approaches used by mediators in the Indigenous communities and First Nation Peoples around Alice Springs, and to hear of stories of the lives of the Elders and co-hosts. In addition, a conference gives the opportunity to connect with colleagues – catching up with familiar acquaintances and meeting new ones, perhaps through casual chit-chat. There is always the desire for connection and the feeling that this brings, of being part of something bigger than oneself, a professional community.

And so, the organisers would have considered these needs and the question of whether they could be met in another way. And so, the virtual conference was born. The planned-for talking circles of the conference hosts and Elders took place virtually. The speakers’ presentations were pre-recorded, and although the ‘live’ feel wasn’t there, there was the opportunity to ask questions of the speakers through chat. There were also opportunities at the conference for people to catch up through virtual break-out rooms during breaks, even at dinner-time one evening!

An ingenious touch for those of us missing the reality of actually being in Alice Springs was live-streaming of footage of the town and the country around it during the opening event. It was wonderful to see three of the Elders and co-hosts sitting in the view of the MacDonnell ranges: Harold Furber, Maureen Abbott, Dr Patricia Miller AO, Kumali Riley and Helen Bishop. (Other co-hosts not present on the occasion were Veronica Perrule Dobson AM and Marlene Rubuntja.) They spoke in a semi-circle, near a clutch of trees over dry land, gently introducing us to the land. As they spoke, the rays of the setting sun shone in golden streams over them. I felt almost as though I were there.

Maureen Abbott was the Co-Chair of the Design Committee. She created the painting that is used for the logo of the conference. Maureen has conducted dispute resolution in a variety of contexts and is an expert in Indigenous conflict management. She has also conducted mediation training for Indigenous communities across the Northern Territory and the APY Lands in South Australia. Helen Bishop is a PhD candidate in Conflict Resolution and Indigenous perspectives. She works in dispute resolution with First Nation communities across the Northern Territory. She believes that alternate dispute resolution practices and peace-building opportunities should be used to support community-led solutions.

On the Thursday morning, we were treated to another live-stream from the ground for a conference welcome: children from Yipirinya school cooking kangaroo tail over an outdoor fire and later singing to us from their school hall.

I had imagined being present at the talking circles at Alice Springs and sitting in the presence of the Elders. It was different to see them on screen and yet they took to the live format generously, sharing their stories with humility about what they had suffered. I felt that I was present with them in the room and was honoured to have the opportunity to hear of their life experiences.

I embraced conducting my presentation by Zoom rather than face-to-face. I interviewed Katelyn Betti, a family mediator, about what workplace mediators can learn from the practice of Family Dispute Resolution. We discussed the techniques that Family Mediators use to enhance emotional safety and constructive dialogue. We explored Katelyn’s particular perspectives on this, plus my own reflections on how these perspectives could help in the workplace context. I was glad that Zoom gave me an opportunity to speak with Katelyn in the west coast of Australia in Perth, from my place in the east coast, in Sydney.

In the virtual break-out rooms that I attended during the breaks, the delegates saw each other through cyber-space squares, like virtual window panes. We sought to connect with each other and yet there was the distance through the virtual platform. But we persevered and I found that I got to know new people, particularly when they coincidentally appeared at another ‘meal break.’

Again, the conversations through the breakout rooms was a metaphor for the mediator’s desire for connection with participants. With all participants in mediation, there are barriers: their own world view coloured by their disappointments, their emotions, their need for control. In all of life, in fact, there are barriers to connecting with others because of our own perceptions, erroneous assumptions, lack of time due to busy lives and other commitments. Even partners who live together can struggle to really know each other. But mediators strive with purpose to connect with participants in mediations and to know and understand them during the time that they work with them. Mediators are a breed who enjoy getting to know and understand others. And so, at the conference, it was palpable how much the delegates wished to connect, striving with purpose in the digital format to learn more about their colleagues.

In the final event, the wrap-up by NMC Chair, Professor Laurence Boulle AM and Co-Chair of the Design Committee, Alysoun Boyle, we heard of the hopes and the challenges to bring the conference to fruition. Alysoun, from her own locked-down location, spoke with gratitude and emotion of how the Elders, who hosted all of us, had helped her and taught her during her time of preparations. And she spoke of how she had got to know Maureen Abbott and Helen Bishop, and how they had so generously guided her through the process of putting together the conference program.

We would have all been disappointed to have missed the opportunity to meet the co-hosts, to be on their country, the land of the Arrernte peoples, and to be in the heart of the land. We would have been sad to miss being present on the ground at the talking circles to hear the Elders and co-hosts speak of their experiences in their country and the losses and pain of the stolen generation. We may have had the opportunity to even sit in the circle with them or a chance to speak to them, to learn even more about their lives and their hopes for their communities and the peace-making work that they do. We would have wondered how we would have felt if we had been there, present with the Elders. To be in their country. To be on the red earth under a cloudless sky. How connected would we have felt; what emotions would have been conjured up? What would we take away with us?

But hearing the emotion with which Alysoun spoke of her work with the co-hosts and the connection that she developed, made us feel like we were there. Alysoun and the co-hosts brought the heart of the land straight into our homes through our computer screens.

17 September 2021

Elizabeth Rosa is a Nationally Accredited Mediator, Workshop Facilitator and the Founder of Resolve at Work.