Mediators Beyond Borders International (MBBI) Regional Group

Mediators Beyond Borders Regional Group
Wednesday 22 November 2017
5.30 – 7.30pm

Venue: Resolution Institute – Lvl 2/ 13-15 Bridge Sydney or for those unable to attend, please find the ZOOM link to join  here:

Mediators Beyond Borders (MBB) work to ‘bring mediation and peace skills to communities around the globe, so they, in turn, can build a more peace ‘able’world.

MBBI Regional Groups provide a venue for MBBI members to meet in person or connect virtually with other members and the organisation.


  1. Introductions
  2. Appointment of note taker and person to chair meeting
  3. Introduction to MBB, its structure and work
  4. Mission and Structure of Regional MBB Group
  5. Roles and Responsibilities, what roles do we need (they can be filled at a later date)
  6. Who are the other Stakeholders
    1. DPACS
    2. Sydney Peace Foundation
    3. ActionAid
    4. Other NGOs
  7. Possible projects.  Any ideas.  Somewhere in our region, Cambodia, Timore Leste, PNG others?
  8. Partnerships with Rotary
  9. Next steps, next meeting

Australian Mediator of the Year

On 18th May I named Australian Mediator of the Year. The Award was given by Australasian Lawyer and sponsored by Resolution Institute.  What an honour.

It is rewarding to have been the very first recipient of the award. Thanks to the Resolution Institute for sponsoring and conceiving the awards given to DR professionals. It should be a regular event!

It is a fantastic thing for my profession when excellence is honoured. Any of the finalists would have been a worthy winner and I congratulate my friends Anne Sutherland-Kelly, Alan Limbury, Mieke Brandon and Anne Purcell who were also nominated. In a truly collaborative spirit, all of the mediator nominees who could attend the awards shared a table at the dinner.

I would like to acknowledge my hard working talented and loyal colleague Eulalie Moore and my mediation Associate, Zeynep Selcuk. Together we do amazing work. Some examples:

  • assisting victims of abuse to have Restorative engagements with the institutions in which they were abused,
  • complex commercial and insurance mediation work,
  • small business company and partnership disputes
  • mediating workplace disputes and conversations,
  • facilitating public meetings group discussions and community engagement groups, especially when the conversations are controversial and
  • advising all manner of businesses how best to manage their conflict risk.

In 2016 I was excited to be involved in the innovative Voluntas project. It has been a joy and privilege to work with so many talented and committed people to complete the pilot, and now we are ready to start the hard work of finding ongoing funding and resources. We want to be able to offer free mediation services to those who could not otherwise afford it.

I am also very proud of my work with Indigenous Community Volunteers. I am hoping that sometime soon the people of Aputula will be compensated for the loss of their property during the so-called “NT Intervention”.

I love my work, the people that I meet are fantastic and I have such wonderful clients. To the law firms, corporates and NFP organisations who have trusted me, I am extremely grateful. You have welcomed me into your lives and trusted me to assist with some of your darkest problems. That itself is an honour and privilege.

Conflict does not always have to be destructive. Disputes do not have to end up as battles of will. At Negocio Resolutions, we live and breeth conflict management. We teach people how to negotiate, have difficult conversations and deal with conflict generally. We are thought leaders, involved in conferences and events around the world. We take great pride in what we do and hope to be able to continue to assist our clients to find the best outcomes, to have the best conversations and to make the best decisions.

Steve Lancken

Lawyers and ADR. Steve Lancken’s thoughts via Lawyers Weekly.

Steve Lancken has recently been quoted in Lawyers Weekly articles discussing the use of ADR and mediation by the legal profession.  Steve specialises in the mediation of commercial, property, insurance and general litigation disputes.

Lawyers Weekly – Coming to the Table May 2016

In an earlier related article Steve talked about legal costing models.

Lawyers urged to re-examine disputes costing model

lawyers in wigs

May 2016



Introducing Voluntas Pilot program. Conflict Resolution for Volunteers


On behalf of a hard working group of volunteers mediators and supporters from the ADR and Volunteer sector I am pleased to announce the pilot “Constructive Conversations” pilot program to be conducted by Voluntas.

For more information call 02 9036 0333

Here is the project description.


VOLUNTAS PILOT SCHEME (February – June 2016)

Voluntas is an independent group that will offer free conflict resolution services to volunteers in a Pilot Scheme from November 2015.  The Pilot will focus on assisting volunteers and volunteer managers to have “Constructive Conversations”.  The service will be provided by volunteers who are accredited mediators.

 The Pilot Scheme will involve an independent person assistingparticipants to[1]:

  • listen to and be heard by each other
  • work out what the disputed issues are
  • work out what is important to each person
  • develop options that take into account each person’s needs and desires
  • explore what might lead to a workable agreement

Voluntas offers the opportunity to prevent conflicts from escalating by helping with respectful, even-handed discussion at no cost. The participant’s role is to listen to other points of view, contribute to the discussion and to ideas for moving forward. If resolution is possible it can restore relationships and maintain dignity.

What Sort of Disputes Will Be Included in the Pilot Scheme?

 Voluntas will offer free, independent conflict resolution services for conflicts that involve a volunteer or volunteers.

A volunteer is a person who willingly gives their time for the common good and without financial gain.

Examples of conflict covered by the Pilot:

  • Interpersonal disputes between volunteers
  • disputes between staff or management and a volunteer
  • complaints about volunteer recognition, rank or role
  • disputes between staff in a volunteer organisation

 Examples of conflict that may not be covered by the Pilot:

  • disputes involving threats of physical violence or abuse
  • disputes between board members or between CEOs and the Board
  • disputes between organisations
  • disputes where the government is a party

If Voluntas decides the dispute is not appropriate for the Pilot Scheme, it will provide advice about other conflict resolution service providers, such as Community Justice Centre, Office of Small Business Commissioner, Ombudsman, private mediator or lawyer.

 Voluntas and the Centre for Volunteering will work together to promote the Pilot


The Centre for Volunteering is the first contact point for the Pilot Scheme. Volunteers and organisations are asked to call them if they are aware of, or are involved in, a conflict that could benefit from the assistance of the “Constructive Conversations Program”. The pilot will involve the following steps:

The Centre for Volunteering will refer conflicts to Voluntas

  1. If assessed to be suitable, Voluntas will refer the conflict to an appropriate nationally accredited mediator on its panel
  2. The mediator will contact the participants to confirm that they agree to receiving assistance in “Transforming Conflict through Constructive Conversations”, and then assess if the dispute is appropriate for the Pilot Scheme
  3. The mediator will arrange the process including any preliminary meetings
  4. Voluntas and the mediator will organise venues and make other arrangements
  5. Participants and organisations will be asked to evaluate the service and share their story in an unidentifiable way.



Centre for Volunteering     and      Voluntas Contacts

Gemma Rygate

 Heesun Chung

Avril Samuels

 02 9261 3600

 Sarah Somogyi (Negocio Resolutions)

 Steve Lanken (Negocio Resolutions)

02 9036 0333

What is Voluntas?

 Voluntas is a coalition of like-minded people including mediation professionals and members of Volunteer and Not-For-Profit organisations. Voluntas will provide quality dispute management services to individual volunteers and volunteer-run organisations at no cost.

Unresolved conflicts and badly managed disputes give rise to risks and costs that damage volunteers and their organisations. We believe that early assistance in transforming conflict through constructive conversations will make a difference in the Volunteering sector to improve dignity, respect and fairness. We aim to create an organisation through which mediation professionals offer time and expertise for free to the volunteering sector.

Voluntas also provides more opportunities for Australian mediators to be mentored and supported whilst practising and developing their mediation skills.

[1] ‘Your Guide to Dispute Resolution’, NADRAC, 2012, available at:

Negotiation and Mediation Training for Law Society of NSW March 2016

negotiation business


Steve Lancken @stevel2000 will be delivering skills based training in Negotiation and Dealing with People you find Difficult in March this year.  Each program qualifies for 6 CLE points and it is possible to “carry over” excess points to the next year for programs attended in March.

The Courses will be interactive and skills based.  The skills learned can be applied immediately.

Details below.  Call me on 0418 272 449 if you want more information or wish to discuss content.

Some comments from previous participants;

Instructor was good and presented very well. He was very professional and engaged with everyone – Workshop Participant, June 2015

 The program gave clear, decisive steps towards negotiation procedures, processes, and step-by-step outcomes – Project Manager, Sigma Air Conditioning, February 2015

 The workshop is good that it is skills based and very practical. Excellent balance of discussion, lecture, media, games and role play – HR Consultant, Salvation Army, November 2014

 The only change in relation to the workshop is that it should be more widely marketed; a great skills-based workshop that many may benefit from – Workshop Participant, May 2014

Advanced Negotiation Skills (1 March 2016)

Communication techniques for dealing with difficult people (2 March 2016)


Advanced Negotiation Skills (21 March 2016)

ACT Government legislation endorses National Accreditation

On 19th February 2015 a Bill with an obscure name was introduced into the ACT Legislative Assembly.  Typically the ACT the Government is ahead of the curve when it comes to mediation.


The Bill amends both the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008 (ACAT ACT) and the Civil Law (Wrongs) Act 2002.  Those amendments define a mediator as a person accredited under the National Mediator Accreditation Scheme.  The Bill is the first in any Australian Jurisdiction to adopt registration in the register of nationally accredited mediators by the Mediator Standards Board (MSB) as the qualification of mediators to be recognised by law.

The Bill is known as the Courts Legislation Amendment Bill.

The Bill is likely to become law by May 2015.

The Bill contain the following definitions

Accredited mediator means a person who is entered as a mediator in the register of nationally accredited mediators maintained by the Mediator Standards Board.

Mediator Standards Board means the incorporated body registered under the Corporations Act as the Mediator Standards Board Limited (ACN 145 829 812).

The ACACT Act defines mediation as follows,

mediation means a meeting between parties to an application and an accredited mediator, ordered under this Act, for resolving a matter to which the application relates, and includes a thing done to arrange the meeting (whether or not successfully); or to follow up anything raised in the meeting.

The Civil Wrongs Act defines mediation as being conducted by either an accredited mediator or a person appointed by the tribunal.

The Bill does not prevent the conduct of mediation in the ACT by mediators who are not accredited.  Rather it provides protection to those who carry out mediation in accordance with the laws and offers very strong signals to Tribunals and Courts in the ACT that mediation should be conducted by mediators who are Nationally Accredited registered as such by the MSB.

Mediation Act Repealed

The Bill if passed into law will repeals the ACT Mediation Act 1997 which was the first in Australia to tackle the difficult issue of who is and is not an “accredited” mediator for the purpose of various laws.  The Mediation Act required mediators who were to be registered under that legislation to meet the ACT Competency Standards for Mediators” published by the ACT Community Services and Health Industry Training Advisory Board Inc.   Unfortunately the ACT Community Services and Health Industry Training Advisory Board Inc. does not seem to still exist (or at least a “google search” suggests so).

Removal of Immunity from Suit for mediators

Repealing the Mediation Act will mean that Mediators previously registered under that legislation no longer have the immunity provided by it under Section 12, which was the same as that which protects judges of the Supreme Court of the ACT.  This legislative effect is consistent with the recommendation 5.9.1 of NADRAC in its report published in 2009 (Maintaining and Enhancing the integrity of ADR processes – From principles to practice through people), that mediators acting privately or appointed by the Courts should not have immunity from suit.

The idea that professional mediators have immunity (that is protection from being sued if they are negligent) might have had the effect of limiting the worth of mediation as a process to potential “clients”.  After all, why should a professional mediator not be accountable for their negligent behaviour like all other professionals?  The availability of inexpensive insurance and the relatively few cases reported of actions against mediators suggests that mediators are rarely accused of negligence that causes significant loss.  We do not therefor think that this change will have any effect on the practice of mediation in the ACT except to make it more attractive.

Secrecy privilege and defamation protection

The amendments to the ACAT Act deal with the admissibility of “mediation material” and secrecy in Sections 35A to 35C.  Mediators should be aware of the various exceptions to the secrecy provisions such as consent of the parties to the mediation, requirement under law and to protect personal safety.   The Act seems to make it clear that the secrecy provisions are for the parties benefit not to protect the mediator.

The amendments to the Civil Laws (Wrongs) Act have no equivalent to Sections 35A to 35C.

Mediators and parties then should continue to be careful to consider appropriate contractual agreements in relation to privilege, confidentiality and secrecy.

The Bill is welcome recognition of the efficacy of the industry initiated voluntary accreditation standards and practice standards, and recognises the value of the work of those who toiled so hard to establish the National Standards and the Mediator Standards Board.

For the MSB, the legislation highlights the importance of ensuring that the NMAS Standards are appropriate and relevant to mediators and parties to disputes, and robust enough for governments to continue to have confidence in the Standards.

Recognised Mediator Accreditations Bodies (RMABs) have a vital role to ensure that mediators who they accredit under NMAS are competent and, that in so far as mediators do not conduct themselves in accordance with the Standards, that there are complaints, counselling and discipline processes that are robust and fair.

There is remains a discussion as to whether mandatory standards for mediators are necessary or rather that the voluntary nature of mediation is its own protection for consumers.  In the meantime the ACT government has decided that standards are appropriate and, by adopting the industry’s own voluntary scheme, signals for the mediation “profession” an even higher obligation to ensure that our accreditation schemes meet community and government expectations.

Steve Lancken and Jay Qin

Negocio Resolutions

Negocio Roles WordPress

Upcoming Training Courses: Negotiation + Dealing with Difficult People – Sydney

Law Society CPD

The Law Society Seminars  – Advanced Negotiation: A one day master class
Tuesday 17 February 2015 | 9.00am -5.00pm

No skill is more important to the modern lawyer than the ability to negotiate. Doing the best for your client in negotiation means getting a result that’s acceptable to all parties. This one-day master class promises you a strong foundation in negotiation. The one day program includes hands-on  practical learning and advanced theories.

For more info Law Society Advanced Negotiation  – 1 Day Master Class

The Law Society Seminars -  Dealing with difficult people: A one day master class
Thursday 26 March 2015 | 9.00am – 5.00pm

In this master class you will learn:

  • What “pushes buttons”, yours and theirs, and why
  • How to manage your reactions, practical skills for lawyers
  • How to change behaviours without preaching
  • How to choose when and how to walk away
  • How to maintain and enhance relationships
  • Numbers to this program will be limited to 20

For more info Law Society – Dealing with Difficult People