Papua New Guinea
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King’s counsel says mediation process effective

BY MELYNE BAROI

Australia’s top lawyer Andrew Crowe also known as the King’s Counsel addressed a room filled with some of PNG’s top commercial lawyers yesterday in Port Moresby, in which he made strong emphasis on the usage of the mediation process saying it is an effective way to settle disputes between companies.

He said Australia has seen mediation to be an effective method to lessen the burden on the courts as it is prompt, cost-effective and promotes a win-win result.

“In Australia we see only about five per cent of commercial disputes go to trial through the normal court process while the rest settle in mediation,” Mr Crowe said.

He added that as commercial lawyers it is important to have a “broad and imaginative mind” when approaching cases of dispute by working closely with the mediator whilst concentrating mostly on the interest of their parties without being too technical.

“Remember of course that the mediator is also observing the body language and power-dynamics in your room.

I suggest that you do not try to stop your client from showing genuine emotions such as anger and frustration.

If the matter settles, the client will miss the opportunity of telling the client’s story in court. Let the client talk, let the client tell the mediator the client’s story” he said.

The King’s Counsel added that lawyers have to understand the mediation process well and translate that understanding to their clients in order to effectively and efficiently use the mediate process to their client’s advantage.

He said mediation is a process of understanding each parties’ position in the dispute and by working alongside the mediator, they can settle the disputes quickly.

He said mediation trainings should be promoted in schools to help the avoid the long and costly court processes.