Strathclyde Mediation Clinic holds first virtual AGM

The University of Strathclyde’s Mediation Clinic has hosted a virtual AGM.

Students, alumni and experienced practitioners joined the meeting from places as far-flung as India, Canada, Germany, Italy, England – and even the Isle of Arran.

Clinic director, Charlie Irvine, reported on a year of unforeseen change. The sudden shift to remote mediation created what Richard Susskind has described as a “huge unscheduled pilot”.

The results are encouraging: the settlement rate for telephone and Zoom mediation is almost identical to face to face, and several sheriff courts are once again referring Simple Procedure cases to the Clinic. Clinic chair Patrick Scott SC praised the flexibility and convenience of telephone mediation, reducing digital exclusion and allowing parties to pause and consider before reaching a final agreement.

Remote mediation has also lowered geographical barriers. The Mediation Clinic has begun accepting referrals from courts outside the central belt and alumni in other parts of UK and overseas have been able to take part in mediations. In two cases involving Polish speakers a graduate of Strathclyde’s LLM/MSc in mediation and conflict resolution was able to assist from his home in Poland.

Head of the law school, Professor Claire McDiarmid, said:

The mediation clinic has risen creatively to the challenges created by Covid and has enhanced its reputation by the way in which it has dealt with cases remotely. The school is delighted with the interest which it has generated and with the practical mediation opportunities which it offers for students.

Looking to the future, Strathclyde is hosting the UK’s first Mediation Clinic Conference on 6 February 2021. Fully online, the conference will be addressed by renowned legal scholar Professor Carrie Menkel-Meadow – founder of one of the USA’s first law school mediation clinics.

For more information contact Mr Irvine: The Clinic has also been shortlisted in this year’s Scottish Law Awards on November 4th in the Community Contribution category. The clinic’s annual report is available here.

This story was first reported in Scottish Legal News.