Are you thinking about training for professional accreditation in mediation? We spoke to a former student to find out what she thought of the course.
Having formally trained as a mediator with RICS training in 2014, Maria Deus, Director of Construction and Infrastructure at DWF (Middle East) LLP, tells us what she thought of the course and offers advice to aspiring mediators.
Why did you decide to sign up to the course?
During my career, I have represented clients in a number of mediations and I have always been fascinated by the transformation in the relationship between the parties that can take place in the course of a day, and the creative ways in which settlement can be effected. Therefore, as an advocate of the benefits of mediation, I was keen to learn more about the mediator's role and the skills deployed by mediators to assist the parties to reach settlement.
What did you learn from the course?
I learnt so much from the course. It was an intensive week for me as there were so many new skills to learn in a short space of time. The course teaches you skills such as:
-> Active listening
-> How to elicit the parties’ interests and needs by asking questions in a certain way or, indeed, by the use of silence
-> How to reframe what the parties say to focus them on the core areas for negotiation
-> How to help the parties to assess the strength of their case using various reality testing methods
Have you been able to apply these skills in your professional life?
Yes, all of these skills have been so useful in my professional life. I was surprised to find how much more information you receive when you listen actively rather than having your mind on what you are going to say next. Also, reality testing techniques are very useful for managing client expectations and helping them to focus on the areas of their case that have merit.
What role do you think mediation plays in the built environment industry?
In the built environment industry, mediation has a very important commercial role. If settlement is reached, then the parties can get on with their core business of construction and generating revenue rather than having their management personnel spending time on protracted negotiations or preparation for litigation or arbitration. I have often seen that parties who settle in mediation are more likely to work together again, and have even included such arrangements as part of their settlement. However, I have never seen parties to protracted adversarial proceedings have an appetite to work together again. Even if settlement is not reached at the mediation, the narrowing of issues can often lead to a negotiated settlement between the parties a few weeks later. At the very least, even if mediation does not end in settlement and the matter proceeds to formal dispute resolution, the preparation for mediation gives both parties a head start in terms of establishing their heads of claim and entitlement for their pleadings.
Do you have any tips for those interested in the mediation field?
I definitely recommend that anyone who is interested in mediation takes a course such as the RICS Mediation course, which allows you to take part in role play and actively employ the skills you have been taught. It is not until you put those skills into action that you truly appreciate the way in which they can help two parties at loggerheads to break a longstanding impasse, and to be able to move on with their commercial interests.
If you are interested in training for professional accreditation, RICS runs the ACRE™ Mediation Training course in collaboration with DIFC Dispute Resolution Authority Academy
(Academy of Law). Learn in a dynamic and fun way with a course which is carefully designed to equip you to mediate in a variety of commercial situations, and build a high level of knowledge, skill and experience.
To read the full brochure about this course:
Tel: +971(0)4 375 5805
Address: DRA Offices , DIFC, 2-6th May, 8am-5pm, CPD: 50