Opinion

Co-Mediation In A Cross-Border Context

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Trade between different states is taking place on a greater scale than ever before. Small and large companies are doing business across borders every day, all around the globe and many companies are established abroad. However, this is by no means new information.

Disputes arising from international business dealings can be complicated and expensive, especially if the parties come from different countries and continents. Moreover, existing business relationships can often break down while in conflict. There are of course courts and arbitrators to resolve cross-border disputes, but this is not only a very expensive and potentially destructive way of finding a solution, it is also often very time-consuming. But, this is also not news to you.

So, what can we do in order to effectively manage a cross-border dispute?

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Posted by Gert Nilsson in ADR, Introductory Guide, Opinion
A Moment In The Drizzle: Could Brexit Represent An Opportunity For Arbitration?

A Moment In The Drizzle: Could Brexit Represent An Opportunity For Arbitration?

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A trigger that came with more warnings than the Daily Mail in a post- colonial gender studies course, the formal notification of Article 50 has brought into relief the fact that the EU-UK legal framework is moving swiftly towards the Rumsfeld paradigm: “There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don’t know”. Continue reading →

Posted by Peter Boyle in ADR, New Analysis, Opinion
Can We Still Be Friends? London As A Global Seat Of Arbitration Post-Brexit

Can We Still Be Friends? London As A Global Seat Of Arbitration Post-Brexit

broken Wedding Rings symbolize the BrexitMichael McIlwrath, Global Chief Litigation Counsel for GE Oil & Gas opened his recent article An Unamicable Separation: Brexit Consequences for London as a Premier Seat of International Dispute Resolution in Europe with the following quote, attributed to the most prolific of all authors, ‘unknown’:

“I try not to think of divorce as failing at marriage but rather winning at bitterness and resentment.” Continue reading →

Posted by Peter Boyle in Comment, News Analysis, Opinion

The End Of Free Trade?

wtoWith the fallout from the recent US election, many are feeling uneasy about the year ahead. Rising nationalism in Europe, along with a growing protectionist trend towards international trade are certainly a cause for concern. Continue reading →

Posted by Natasha Mellersh in News Analysis, Opinion
Negotiation In The Trump Era

Negotiation In The Trump Era

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The recent inauguration of US President Donald Trump brings a new era of uncertainty to the international community, as many countries re-evaluate their relationships with the United States.

The role of the President as the chief negotiator of foreign policy is essential in maintaining global peace and security, and should not be taken lightly. Though he describes himself as an “expert negotiator”, the fact that Trump has caused considerable tension within his first few days in office has proven that he is in fact quite the opposite.

In this increasingly volatile climate, what does the behaviour of the US Head of State indicate for the future of negotiation, mediation and other dispute resolution practices?

In a recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald, regarding Trump’s rather ‘undiplomatic’ phone call with the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the article’s authors Greg Miller and Philip Rucker stated: “Mr Trump’s behaviour suggests that he is capable of subjecting world leaders, including close allies, to a version of the vitriol he frequently employs against political adversaries and news organisations in speeches and on Twitter.”

A dangerous approach to diplomacy

Donald Trump is currently taking a very confrontational approach to negotiation, based on his experiences in business – where this method was perhaps a little more appropriate than it is for diplomacy.

“In my tiny and unpleasant exposure to the commercial world, it seems to me you go into a negotiation … and you know you can walk away. But in geopolitics there’s no walking away,” he told the Association of European Journalists in London, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

In a recent article in the Independent, General Sir Richard Barrons, former commander of the UK’s Joint Forces Command, raised concerns about Trump’s negotiation mentality. Barrons stated that the President’s “win-lose” philosophy might appear “psychologically normal” to a head of a large company, however he warned on the international stage this could be “deeply dangerous”.

He added that generally wars begin “for really bad reasons and the red mist descends and you lose control … I think the risk of that is evident.”

Negotiation now more than ever

The breakdown of the trade negotiations on TTIP, as well as Trump’s announcement to withdraw from NAFTA, TPP and even NATO could have huge consequences for the world economy, and for the stability of Europe in particular, not to mention Mexico.

The global crises caused by large movements of refugees, economic instability and climate change are putting the international community under considerable pressure at this time. In this globalised world, protectionism is no longer a viable option, nevertheless this increasing trend driven by populist parties and by activists on both ends of the political spectrum is leading to increasing polarisation of public opinion in many countries.

In this increasingly volatile political climate, the need for effective dispute resolution mechanisms, at all levels, is becoming more and more evident. Furthermore, the example set by Trump in regards to negotiation is extremely unsettling, not only because of the potential effect on world politics but also because of the negative way it portrays dispute resolution tactics.

In an article for Mediate.com, Mediator Robert Benjamin wrote last year: “It is disheartening to think of the number of people who might lose the opportunity to learn what a thoughtful and serious negotiation process might look like and how it might help them traverse difficult issues by following his example.”

He added that the US President is “undermining the efforts of many who have diligently studied the negotiation and mediation processes and sought to make their skills as useful and as available to the public as possible”.

It is now more than ever that effective negotiation and mediation skills must be put into effect to stem the civil unrest within the United States in the wake of Trump’s first weeks in office, as well as to construct an effective trade and foreign policy his administration so desperately needs over the next four years.

Article written by Natasha Mellersh.

Do you agree with the views presented in the article? Please feel free to comment or write an article in response to this feature.

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Natasha Mellersh is the editor of the GPC Blog. She is currently pursuing an LLM in Public International Law at Leiden University in the Netherlands. 

Email: natasha.mellersh@globalpound.org
Twitter: @tashalaws

Posted by Natasha Mellersh in Negotiation, News Analysis, Opinion