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Live Blogging – 1st CNLU National Mediation Competition, 2023

11 Feb 2023

Greetings of the day!

On behalf of the Chanakya Centre for Alternate Dispute Resolution (CCADR), we welcome you to the 1st Edition of CNLU National Mediation Competition, 2023 live blog.

Greetings of the day!

On behalf of the Chanakya Centre for Alternate Dispute Resolution (CCADR), we welcome you to the 1st Edition of CNLU National Mediation Competition, 2023 live blog.

February 11, 2023: Semi-Finals

11:20 AM – Semi-Finalists entered the venue for the competition

The Organising Committee of CNLU NMC 2023 welcomed our semi-finalist for this mediation competition from NIRMA, JGLS, UILS Chandigarh, HPNLU, MNLU Mumbai, Christ Bangalore and GLC, Mumbai to the Academic Block of CNLU Patna and with this marked the commencement of the semi-finals rounds for the competition.

11: 30 AM – Participants briefing and Release of Confidential Information

Forty-Five minutes prior to the commencement of the semi-finals rounds, all the mediating parties were given their respective Confidential Information (CI), which is a set of facts provided to both the requesting and defending parties, which they can use in their favour during the mediation session.

12:15 PM – Commencement of Semi-final rounds

Once the forty-five minutes to assess the CI were over, all four mediating parties, along with the mediators, entered their respective mediation rooms for the semi-finals. Once the teams and mediators had settled in the mediation room, the Organising Committee requested the esteemed judges to join the mediating parties and mediators in the mediation room.

12:20 PM – Details of Judges

Our esteemed judges for the semi-finals – 01 rounds are Ms. Mahak Rathee, Mr. Ranjit Singh, along with our international judge on the board, Ms. Heather Yee, who is joining us through Zoom.

12:25 PM – Opening Statement of Mediators

With permission from our panel of esteemed judges, the mediation session started. Both the mediators thanked the parties for approaching the mediation for their dispute resolution, followed by a brief introduction of the mediating parties and the process of mediation, i.e., How the whole process of mediation will take place and confidentiality through the session will be maintained by the mediators in dealing with sensitive matters which the parties specifically asked not to disclose to the other party.

The qualified mediator in the mediation session once again reiterated their role in the session as moderators and facilitators of the mediation process. They assured the parties of utmost independence and impartiality throughout the mediation session, followed by setting up some basic ground rules for the mediation session, like no shouting or disrespectful conduct, among other rules to follow throughout the mediation session.

Mediators also apprised the parties of the process of the caucus and, before asking the mediating parties to give her opening remarks, quoted, “Be hard on the issue, not people.”

12: 33 PM – Opening Statement by the Requesting Parties and the Responding Parties

The requesting party started with their opening statement and explained their understanding of the joint venture with the requesting party and how this JV can benefit both parties to reach a higher level of profit and place in the oil market. He then assured the responding party that he wished to continue with the relationship and his commitment to this mediation session for a fruitful discussion on the issue. This added a positive outlook to the mediation session and the joint venture agreement, which was easily agreed upon by the responding party.

The Counsel for the requesting party, Mr Reddy thanked Mr Kevington for joining us to discuss the terms and settlement with respect to the investment. He assured me that he is here only in an advisory capacity and all the decisions will be taken by his client, Mr. bond only. He will only be helping his client on legal matters with respect to investment, profit distribution, management, indemnity and insurance.

12: 39 PM – Opening Statement by the Responding Parties

The responding party started their opening statement with a vote of thanks to the mediator for taking up this matter and also the requesting party for their commitment to enhancing their relationship and quoted a statement by a man, none other than the embodiment of the peaceful way of settlement, Mahatma Gandhi,

“Peace is not the absence of conflict but a solution to the conflict.”

The Counsel for the responding party thanked the mediators, showing a gesture of appreciation for them and the requesting parties, followed by a brief description of her role as counsel in the mediation session. She assured me that her client would be in full control of the matter at hand and she would only be assisting her client in legal matters, i.e., dealing with domestic and international law with respect to the issue at hand.

12:42 PM - Setting of Agenda by the Mediators

After hearing the requesting party and the responding party, the mediators aptly assessed the issues brought before them to the mediation table and discussed the issues that needed to be resolved. Both the mediator settled on these many agendas for today and subsequent mediation session.

  1. Investment and profit sharing with respect to the Joint Venture

  2. Functioning of the operation

  3. Management of the business

  4. Indemnity clause

  5. Insurance process

12:45 PM – Joint Session

With the setting of the agendas for the mediation session, the mediators opened the table for a joint discussion by both parties where they can give offers and counter offers with respect to the Joint venture agreement and profit-sharing mechanism.

At first, the requesting party proposed that 16 million out of the total 24 million investment be borne by the responding parties as they are the one who owns the resources and, therefore, they should be given the management of the operation. The requesting party also apprised the mediators and the requesting parties of their expertise in oil rates management and how it can contribute to a better profit for both parties. However, the parties could not reach at a settlement, and the mediator barged in and asked if the parties wished to conduct a private caucus with the mediators. To which both parties replied in affirmative.

12:58 PM – Private Caucus

Mediator asked the requesting party to start with their private caucus first and asked the responding party to leave the mediation room for the time being. Once again, both the mediator reiterated the confidentiality part of the caucus to the parties that unless and until the party specifically asks the mediators to disclose some sensitive details shared within closed and confidentiality of the four walls, the mediators won’t share them. Both parties gave their proposal on how they wished to continue with this mediation process.

1:05 PM – Offer and Counter-Offer

Both parties gave their offer and counteroffer with respect to the distribution of shares and profit in the joint venture. Requesting parties want the responding party to take more risk associated with the investment as assured that they will take care of 80% of the insurance and 100% Indemnity for the operation of the Joint venture.

1:15 PM – Time up for today’s mediation session

With the end of the timing for the mediation session, it was clear that neither of the parties could reach a settlement viable for both of them, but the parties were amicable to each other and agreed on a date for the next mediation session, where they could try their best to reach a settlement.

1: 15 PM - Judges' Feedback

With the end of the mediation session, our esteemed judges swung into action and gave positive and constructive feedback to both the mediating parties and the mediators.

Ms. Mahak Rathee gave positive feedback to the client and counsel from both parties and appraised the counsel for not being a hurdle in the discussion. Yet, she could not help but emphasise the confidentiality part to the mediator. Mediators must always assure the parties that their information won’t be disclosed without their permission. She asked the mediator to share their experiences as a mediator with the parties in order to build trust and confidence. Counsel should summarise the points made by their clients; however, in no case should they repeat the statement again and again.

Our other judge on the panel, Mr Ranjit Singh, asked the mediator not to miss important stuff as it would not only make the process of mediation ineffective but also impact the mediator’s assessment. In today’s mediation session, we could not reach a settlement mainly due to disagreement with respect to investment and profit sharing, which could have been avoided only if the mediators tried to be more in control.

Ms. Heather Yee emphasised on proper closing of the mediation rounds by the mediators. She reminded the participants of the Client driven process, which is the sole mediation process. She further added that counsel should not make any absolute statement which could go against the interest of their clients. She lamented that parties failed to discuss other agendas during the mediation session and thereby lacked to utilise the time aptly.

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