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In Place of Strife

The Mediation Chambers

Chambers members lead ground-breaking training and accreditation in Greece

Sunday, 22nd March 2009

Director General of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Michael Forbes Smith was guest of honour along with Chambers members Amanda Bucklow and Charles Middleton-Smith at a presentation in Athens of certificates to the first group of CIArb mediators accredited in Greece. The presentation was attended by representatives from The Ministry of Development, Parliament, Ministry of Justice, Hellenic Chambers of Commerce, The National Federation of Greek Commerce, General Confederation of Professional Craftsmen of Northern Greece, The Association of SA and Limited Companies and The Hellenic Mediation and Arbitration Centre.The training was written and delivered by Amanda Bucklow and her training partner, Charles Middleton-Smith, specifically to reconcile the requirements of the Greek market and the accreditation criteria of the Institute. Amanda and Charles, both members of mediation chambers In Place of Strife, trained and mentored 23 participants from a variety of backgrounds including representatives from leading law firms, commercial organisations and the University of Athens. 20 candidates attended the assessment days and 16 were accredited. The candidates received their certificates at the presentation on 19 December 2008. "This has been such a rewarding project. Our group of participants was extremely committed to the training and practice. Indeed, the assessors commented on the fact that this was the best prepared group they had ever assessed. What has made this project so successful is the interest and willingness of government, commercial and legal stakeholders to engage with us through HMAC to develop many of the necessary supporting elements, such as the mediation pledge and drafting the mediation law." said Amanda. "This is only the second time the Institute has conducted an accreditation for mediators outside the UK. It was important that the process was consistent with the existing high standards while at the same time being appropriate for the practice of mediation in Greece. I would like to thank everyone at the Institute for their tremendous support in achieving this." The presentation was the culmination of a year long initiative which was sponsored by the Greek Ministry of Development as part of their policy for improving the competitiveness of Greek businesses within the European Union and as an early implementation in Greece of the EU Directive on mediation. Amanda, who recently became one of the first Mediation Fellows of the Institute, worked closely with Dr Ioanna Anastassopoulou, Director of The Hellenic Mediation and Arbitration Centre (HMAC), to develop a comprehensive strategy with the Ministry of Development for mediation practice in Greece. Dr Anastassopoulou is also an accredited mediator who trained outside Greece in 2006 and has since been the energy behind this initiative. Charles said, "One of the criticisms levelled at mediation training, especially in undeveloped markets, is that newly accredited mediators have an uphill struggle to get their practice moving against a background of relative ignorance. The joy for me therefore, in this case, has been that Amanda and I have been able to use our mediation skills comprehensively to engage others who need to play a role in developing the use of mediation in Greece. This has been an outstanding example of what can be achieved by many in a relatively short period of time given the leadership, motivation and the skills." Discussions with and contributions from many interested parties including the Ministry of Justice, The Athens Bar and Law Societies, professional trade bodies, Chambers of Commerce and others were an essential part of designing a mediation model for Greece and the appropriate training to support that model. At the same time as the presentation of certificates a Mediation Pledge was signed by representatives of all the participating ministries and commercial organisations. The government is currently consulting on a new mediation law which is intended to place mediation firmly in the heart of business. Following the presentation, there was a reception hosted by Nicholas Papapolitis and his father John Papapolitis of Papapolitis & Papapolitis Law Firm. CIArb was chosen ahead of several other European accreditation bodies because of the Institute's international presence and global reputation for dispute resolution. The Director General spoke of the Institute's commitment to international dispute resolution and welcomed the opportunity to support The Hellenic Mediation and Arbitration Centre in developing the mediation profession in Greece. "I'd like to congratulate the Ministry of Development and the other departments of the Greek Government for starting this initiative which I think is the first of its kind, that I know of, in Europe. I think it is a very strong indication of Greece's determination to move forward as a competitive member of the European Union. Considerable credit is also due to the efforts and commitment of the Hellenic Mediation and Arbitration Centre lead by Dr Ioanna Anastassopoulou and supported by Amanda and Charles."

 

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