2020 Asia-Pacific Commercial Mediation Competition

Henry Jolson Prize

Presented by Barrister & Mediator, Glen Pauline, on behalf of the ADR Committee of Victorian Bar Association.

Speech

“On behalf of the Victorian Bar, and in particular, its Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, congratulations to the winning team of the 2020 ICC-ADC Asia Pacific Commercial Mediation Competition.

Each year of the competition since 2017, the Victorian Bar has awarded the Henry Jolson Prize to the winning team, as recognition of the outstanding performance of each team member involved.

The award of the prize in the name of Henry Jolson is intended to be and is a great honour. Henry Jolson OAM QC was a much loved and highly respected member of the Victorian Bar for almost 40 years. In 2012 he was inducted as a Living Legend of the Victorian Bar. He was a pioneer of mediation in Victoria from 1985 when he first received a call from a County Court judge needing to clear the backlog of cases awaiting trial.  He and others then set about the task of mediating the backlog of cases, which then set the course for mediation to become the essential part of the Victorian justice system that it is today. I would like to take a few moments to say a few words relating to Henry and mediation.  We are lucky to have Henry’s thoughts in relation to mediation, which were recorded in an interview with him in December 2012.

Henry said: “I would rather communicate and talk openly about a client’s concerns with a view to try and resolve it at an early stage, to avoid having this cost escalation, and the delays, and the frustration at the end. Even with an imposed decision by a judge, or a third party arbitrator, both sides are not a hundred per cent satisfied, because … you never get all your costs back… Courts and arbitral tribunals often can’t give to litigants complete satisfaction that accommodates their needs and interests which may be different to their strict legal rights.”

And on communication, Henry said “Communication is important to me. I found that lawyers become filters, and I developed my own analysis of conflict model about this. Clearly people in a commercial dispute had a relationship at one stage. They could talk to each other. They did a deal, they worked together, and then they fall out, and find they are unable or unwilling to talk to each other effectively in order to resolve the dispute. So they go off to independent lawyers, and then it’s the lawyers who are talking, not the clients. The lawyers have their own language and they filter things unwittingly, or wittingly… In my mediations, and I’m thankful that the legal profession, barristers and solicitors, trusted me enough for me to say, at a particular point in the mediation “Let me speak with the decision-makers alone without lawyers”, and they let me go off and have a chat with the decision makers …who I bring to a full circle, where I assist them to listen and talk to each other…and other things come out when the clients talk directly with each other which shifts the dynamic and can produce an unexpected resolution.

We hope that Henry’s words will inspire you, to continue the great communication that you demonstrated throughout this competition. In whatever country, jurisdiction or area of law that you go on to practice in, we hope that you too are inspired to champion open and good communication and satisfying your client’s needs and interests, in your approach towards negotiation and mediation.

As winning team you also receive a cash prize of $600, to be divided amongst you. In addition, each team member will receive a Certificate from the Victorian Bar attesting to your victory and skills as mediators of the future.

Congratulations!”

Glen Pauline
Barrister & Mediator NMAS
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