Mediation – what’s your role?

On 30 April 2015 the Committee of the Young Mediators’ Group attended a Society of Construction Law lecture,  presented by Dr Andrew Agapiou LLM PhD, Senior Lecturer at Strathclyde University and practising commercial mediator. 

Dr Agapiou’s background is in engineering and architecture, moving on to construction management and arbitration before delving into the world of mediation and conflict resolution.  He’s now been carrying out research for the past five and a half years on mediation, with a focus on construction mediation. 

Dr Agapiou presented a thought-provoking session on the findings of his research to date.  It looked at questions such as how is mediation used in construction in Scotland?  What are the experiences of users?  And of providers and lawyers?  What are the barriers to mediation? What sort of demand was there for mediation?  Where might it go in the future?

What was of particular interest was that the research is looking at the role of different parties in mediation, something which is important for all of us involved in mediation to reflect on.  For example Dr Agapiou’s research considered whether lawyers act as “gatekeepers” and even barriers to mediation.  Do lawyers encourage or inhibit the interest of clients or others in mediation?  What do we do ourselves?  Why?  There are a huge number of factors involved in any one case and it is safe to say mediation isn’t suitable in every situation, but questions as to how and why we act the way we do around mediation is certainly something to think about. 

Find out more about Dr Agapiou’s research here and look out for the next stage being published in 2016.

Jane Fender-Allison Co-Chair Young Mediators' Group