Review of the 2nd IBA-VIAC CDRC Vienna Mediation and Negotiation Competition

One year ago, the International Bar Association (IBA), the Vienna International Arbitral Centre (VIAC), and the European Law Students’ Association (ELSA) launched the first edition of the Consensual Dispute Resolution Competition (CDRC) Vienna. The inaugural success and the enthusiastic feedback and support for the competition’s new concept quickly caught international attention and led to a second edition in 2016. From 28 June to 2 July 2016 Vienna witnessed, for the second time, the next generation of dispute resolution practitioners paving the way towards consensual methods of settling the business disputes of the future.

At CDRC Vienna students compete against each other by negotiating a series of real world commercial-legal problems based on the case of the Willem C. Vis Moot. The competition is focused on the participants’ ability to use negotiation and mediation skills to successfully negotiate or mediate a settlement that best serves the needs of the parties. All of this converges towards one single idea – the Alternative Dispute Resolution of a new generation is consensual. Mediation and Negotiation are the processes of the future that give parties full control and decisive power over their disputes.

The fresh approach of showing the connection between arbitration, mediation and negotiation by using a major arbitration case that has been stayed, supplementing it with new confidential instructions in each round and having students negotiate and mediate the case drew 230 successful applicants to the 2016 edition of the competition. 30 university teams were selected by competitive qualification and skill based assessment, bringing students from countries around the world such as Australia, Brazil, India, Kenya, Lebanon, the US, the UK, Russia, and many more. All of them were coached, supported and assessed by some of the leading experts in the field of international Mediation and Negotiation. A total of over 90 experts, trainers and coaches from 30+ countries worked with the students for their preparation and during the competition.

The week started with a day of mediation and negotiation workshops, led by leading practitioners and trainers such as Michael Mcilwrath (Global Chief Litigation Counsel, GE Oil and Gas) and Tom Valenti (Mediator and Trainer, Chicago), a tour and welcome reception at the United Nations and a panel discussion of the UNCITRAL’s work on enforceability of mediated agreements with renown practitioners such as Nadja Alexander (Australia) and Paul Mason (Brazil).

Evening highlights included the “Wines of Vienna” wine tasting with the premiere of the competition wine “Diamond Mata Weltin” organized by Brazilian headline sponsor CAM CCBC and the Special Award Ceremony at the premises of headline sponsor Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

The Final Award Ceremony honored 1st Prize Negotiation (Sofia University St Kliment Ohridski), 2nd Prize Negotiation (SUNY Buffalo Law School), 3rd Prize Negotiation (Saint Joseph University Beirut), 1st Prize Mediation (National Law University Delhi, Pritika Malhotra) and 2nd Prize Mediation (Charles University Prague, Pavlína Krausová) at the City Hall of Vienna on the final Saturday.

Preliminary Round Special Awards in 5 Categories were given for Best Negotiation Strategy – Strathmore University (Anne Mwangi, Christopher Ndegwa, Irene Otieno, Mercy Teko), Best Advocacy – SOAS, University of London (Jenny Marie Driver, Maria Vittoria Salvatori, Muzhgan Wahaj), Best Teamwork in Negotiation – National Law School of India University, Bangalore (Sharwari Pandit, Gaganjyot Singh), Most Effective Opening Address – New Jersey City University (Leman Kaifa, Paola Leguizamo) and Best Mediation Management -University of São Paulo (Daniel Mendes Bioza).

A special thank you goes to the headline sponsors CAM-CCBC and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, all the experts and working groups members that have brought their knowledge and experience to share with the participants, the coaches, teams, cooperating institutions and the big organizer and volunteer team whose commitment to the development of the next generation of Consensual Dispute Resolution have made an event like this possible.

published July 27, 2016