This year’s UK Student Mediation Competition was held in Jersey for the first time and has raised the profile of mediation services in Jersey.

Following the Jersey team’s competition success in 2015, this year’s event was hosted by The Institute of Law Jersey with support and sponsorship from The Resolution Centre. On Friday 27th and Saturday 28th January, roughly 70 students from law schools around the UK and Europe were welcomed at The Magistrates Court where they competed for the prestigious award.
 
Over the two days, 17 teams were put to the test in four mediation roleplay scenarios designed to help students to understand the value of resolving disputes and to develop their skills through mediation. The judging process took a considerable amount of time and over 400 individual scoresheets had to be compiled and calculated to identify a full list of winners. Each student also received individual feedback and recognition for their mediation efforts. This year, the team from University of London, Bloomsbury were crowned winners, with the University of Central Lancashire following in second place. 

Below is a list of the top ten teams:

1st Place:        University of Law, Bloomsbury
2nd Place:        University of Central Lancashire (Team 1)
Equal 3rd Place:    Liverpool John Moores University 
Equal 3rd Place:    Queen’s University Belfast
Equal 3rd Place:    University of Central Lancashire (Team 2)
6th Place:        Canterbury Christ Church University
Equal 7th Place:    Liverpool Hope University
Equal 7th Place:    Northumbria University
9th Place:        Edinburgh University
Equal 10th Place:    University of East Anglia – UEA
Equal 10th Place:    University of Law, Birmingham

It wasn’t just the students who benefitted from the competition. This year, the Institute of Law Jersey and The Resolution Centre recruited 51 leaders in the industry, to act as judges for the competition, including mediators, lawyers, academics and others whose roles involve dispute resolution. The event provided a unique opportunity to elevate the profile of mediation services to a diverse group of industry professionals and those who wished to update their skills were able to participate in the surrounding events, including two mediation training events.

Many industry professionals have commended the success of the competition and are now working with The Institute of Law and The Resolution Centre in their mission to encourage education, professional development and increased use of effective mediation services in Jersey, in order to establish a society where people are able to resolve disputes successfully.  

Clair Cousins, Managing Director, The Resolution Centre, Says:

‘We are so proud to have sponsored the UK Student Mediation competition for the first time in Jersey. It was a fantastic opportunity for students to learn and practice mediation skills that they can utilise in their future careers. What we had not anticipated was the impact that the competition would also have on the industry professionals that took part in judging the competition. So many have expressed the need to encourage a greater awareness of the mediation services available in Jersey. We now look forward to working with them in our mission to increase access to justice through independent and impartial dispute resolution, learning and leadership. A huge part of this mission involves training professionals to deal with conflict in organisations, helping individuals solve private disputes and providing resources to the local community to aid them in in order to establish a society where people transform problems successfully into solutions.

We are very grateful to everyone who has been involved in organising this year’s event. In particular we would like to say thank you to Claire de Than, the Deputy Director of the Institute of Law Jersey, for all her hard work in putting this event together and making it such a success for Jersey. We would also like to acknowledge our Training & Academic Partner, Queen Margaret University, and our Professional Partner, the Professional Mediator’s Association (PMA).’

Claire de Than, Deputy Director, Institute of Law Jersey, says:

‘We are thrilled that the competition was such a success. The journey to this event began in 2014, when I coached a team of four LLB students from the Institute of Law for our first entry in such a major competition. They won the finals of the competition in 2015, beating teams from the professional courses of large universities across the UK, and that success enabled me to bring this competition to Jersey for the first time. 

Organising such a complex event takes a great deal of time, and The Resolution Centre have been a great help and support; we look forward to working with them on a programme of future events. Dispute resolution skills are important for law students and for the wider community, and hosting this competition was an opportunity not only for local students but also to boost Jersey’s international profile as a centre for dispute resolution. The feedback from teams, coaches and judges has been extremely positive, and we are also celebrating some successes: Samantha Losh from the Institute of Law team was ranked in the Top 10 roleplayers overall, and Lara Morand, also from the Institute of Law, stepped in to assist Liverpool John Moores University, who were missing a team member. They came joint third, which they could not have done without her help!‘

Malcolm Ferey, Chief Executive, Citizens Advice Jersey, says: 

‘This was a well organised and professionally orchestrated weekend, it was great to be involved with students, academics, and people from across our community who all came together to make this event a success. It was a real eye-opener for many of us who took part to see and hear how mediation can help people to resolve their problems, by helping people to find common ground and exploring creative solutions to issues within scenarios that were sometimes quite complex.
 
There were certainly some bright young stars who emerged over the two days, whether they were playing the part of the mediators or ‘acting’ as one of the parties who had a dispute, they all took to their roles with aplomb to make the whole experience as real as possible. As judges, our task was not an easy one and in my view, they were all winners.
 
From conversations that I had with the students, they were all left with a positive image of the Island, commenting on the friendliness of all who were involved with proceedings and many expressed a wish to one day return to our shores!’
 

Photograph by Murielle Nicholas