ArbitralWomen has been partnering with the Global Pound Conference Series (the “GPC Series”) since June 2016.
The GPC Series 2016-2017 was initiated by the International Mediation Institute (“IMI”). It is an unprecedented, ambitious, innovative and global project that aims, through a series of conferences currently being held throughout the world and involving a broad range of dispute resolution stakeholders, to find out what dispute resolution users need and want and to shape the future of commercial dispute resolution. See www.globalpoundconference.org, where you can sign up for or become involved in a GPC event in your region of the world. In 2016 events were held in Singapore, Lagos, Mexico City, New York, Geneva, Toronto and Madrid. Several more events have already taken place this year, with a total of 25 events planned for 2017, culminating in the closing event in London on 6 July 2017.
Each event uses information technology and various data collection methods to obtain and analyse delegates’ responses to a series of Core Questions. The broad outline of these questions, addressed over four sessions is:
- What do parties want, need and expect from dispute resolution processes?
- How satisfied are they with the services currently on offer?
- What gaps and obstacles can they identify so that supply and demand can be better aligned? and
- Who can make improvements, how and when?
In December 2016, IMI and the Central Organising Group for the GPC published the Singapore Report, which is the analysis of the first GPC Series event that took place in Singapore on 17-18 March 2016. An Executive Summary and a full report (both authored by Emma-May Litchfield and Danielle Hutchinson) are available. For me, two key conclusions noted in the Executive Summary stand out. The first is that various solutions which stakeholders appear to prefer are not being put forward for their consideration, for example, how adjudicative and non-adjudicative processes might be combined. Secondly, in the long-term, stakeholders seem to favour and be moving away from the usual adversarial processes and towards bespoke processes which take account of costs, time and outcomes. The need to address these and other issues is mirrored in the aggregated voting results from the first seven GPC events held last year and a summary of this data authored by Jeremy Lack, Global Coordinator of the GPC Series. I certainly subscribe to the view expressed by the GPC when distributing these results, when it was noted that all stakeholders have a role to play in “helping disputants to obtain “Appropriate” (and no longer “Alternative”) Dispute Resolution services.”
As a member of the Paris GPC organising committee, I would make special mention of the Paris GPC event, entitled Le règlement des différends à l’horizon 2050 , which will take place on 26 April 2017. We hope that many stakeholders, whatever their role in commercial dispute resolution, will join us at the Paris conference and are especially keen to hear the views of users of dispute resolution processes.
Gillian Carmichael Lemaire, advisory member of the ArbitralWomen Board and member of the Paris GPC committee