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Civil Mediation Council – Bringing Mediators Together

Civil Mediation Council – Bringing Mediators Together

The Civil Mediation Council (CMC) aims to increase participation in mediation across all sectors in the UK. The CMC was set up back in 2003 initially to promote the use of mediation in civil and commercial disputes. Today, the CMC aims to promote the use of mediation right across all sectors of society as well as represent the interests of civil and commercial mediators, workplace mediators, family mediators and community mediation services.

In this interview with CMC chair Sir Alan Ward, we learn how the CMC intend to promote mediation, represent the interests of mediators as well as attempt to coalesce the different factions within the mediation world.

Sir Alan, has a reputation as a charismatic individual and a passionate advocate of mediation. These qualities would often emerge during many of his judgments sitting on the High Court (family division) as well as the Court of Appeal.

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Full Transcript

Aled: Hi everyone, my name is Aled Davies, founder of, home of the passionate mediator. This is where we interview the very best mediators and thought leaders from right around the world. We learn about new opportunities in the field of mediation as well as how to sharpen our skills, develop our thinking, and stay ahead of the game.

We’re all desperate to see the demand for mediation radically change, and not just in the U.K. There is one organisation aiming to do just that by inspiring all corners of society to use mediation for resolving disputes. In this interview, I want to learn how they intend doing that, what else needs to change in order for mediation to become a popular choice for those with disputes. I’m also hoping that we can shed some light on the current barriers to the mainstream adoption of mediation.

My distinguished guest today began his career in the law being admitted as an attorney of the Supreme Court of South Africa. He left South Africa to read law at Pembroke College, Cambridge and was called to the bar by the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn in 1964. He took silk in 1984 and in 1988 was appointed a judge of the High Court, assigned to the family division. He was elevated to the Court of Appeal in 1995 and appointed a privy counsellor, and retired in 2013.

In the course of his years in the Court of Appeal, he gave the leading judgments in a whole range of work from commercial to family, from planning to personal injury, from construction to conveyancing. He gave many judgments extolling the virtues of mediation and berating the parties and their lawyers for not engaging in it.

He’s a CEDR accredited mediator and is currently chair of the Civil Mediation Council, recognised by the Ministry of Justice to be the voice for civil mediation in England and Wales, promoting and encouraging all forms of mediation.

It’s a real privilege to welcome Sir Alan Ward onto Mediator Academy. Sir Alan, welcome.

Sir Alan: Thank you.

Aled: As well as berating parties and their advisors for not engaging in mediation, you’ve also got a bit of a reputation for witty one-liners. I’ve dug one out just to get us rolling. I think you said something like, “You may be able to drag the horse to water, but you cannot force the wretched animal to drink if it stubbornly resists. I suppose you can make it run around the litigation course so vigorously that in a max sweat, it will find the mediation trough more friendly and desirable.”

Sir Alan: One of my last judgments, yes. I was demob happy. I could say things like that.

Aled: Have you always been that charismatic as a judge and as a lawyer?

Sir Alan: No. I’m a shy, shrinking violet in truth, but passionate about mediation, yes, because it just seems so obviously sensible.

Aled: I want to come on to that. Before we get into the role of the CMC Civil Mediation Council, I’m curious to know where this passion, this interest for mediation comes from.

Sir Alan: I met mediation first, it was then called conciliation, back in 1983. I was a member of a committee appointed by the Lord Chancellor, Lord Hailsham, to consider amendments to the divorce procedure. He asked us specifically to include conciliation in our terms of reference. It obviously made sense to me that warring couples would do better to resolve their disputes rather than fight over them.

So I was an arch proponent from that time onwards. Sitting at our dining table with my wife one Sunday, we talked about it and suggested there should be a first appointment at which mediation was discussed, especially in disputes relating to the children. That came into force. We suggested it should be followed up with financial disputes. Much later, that has taken the form of a financial dispute resolution hearing. Yes, I’ve been involved in it for a long time.

Aled: I trained as a mediator in South Africa at the Centre for Conflict Resolution in Cape Town.

Sir Alan: A [Afrikaans 00:05:11] man.

Aled: That was my first, it was . . . I describe it as my moment of clarity. I put some of that down to being in South Africa at a time when the capacity for compassion was visceral. Even now, I’m thinking about that time and that experience and the hairs on the back of my neck rise. I’m wondering how much of your upbringing in South Africa and being around at the time of the troubles in South Africa, has that influenced your pursuit of dialogue or mediation?

Sir Alan: It certainly sharpened my awareness of injustice, because injustice was all around me as an attorney practising law. You are really at the work face in dealing with inequities of apartheid. My hero is, or became Nelson Mandela. As a young articled clerk, I had the privilege of speaking to him on the phone when he wanted me to represent his client on an appeal in the Supreme Court in Pretoria. He practised in Johannesburg.

He was unique. How did this black man get to practise in Johannesburg? I was astonished as a young man. Of course, his is the prime example of successful negotiation. I don’t know that they had a mediator present when he dealt with the president. His philosophy, which is, I think, if you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to talk to your enemy.

As soon as you talk to your enemy, you become a partner with your enemy. As partners, you strive to find a common solution. It seems to me an adequate metaphor for mediation. If it succeeded for him, if he could put bitterness behind him, why shouldn’t anybody else? Sublimate your own personal anxieties, worries, and fears for the attainment of a greater good somewhere else.

Aled: That’s a lovely story. You’ve now taken over as chair of the Civil Mediation Council.

Sir Alan: Yes.

Aled: Could you say a little bit about the Civil Mediation Council? Some people watching this interview will be from all corners of the world. Explain a little bit about the Civil Mediation Council.

Sir Alan: The CMC was founded in 2003. It came into being really as a club for commercial mediators. It had a lot of backing support from the government of the day. We have retained a very close link with the Ministry of Justice and other departments as well. It was really formed to try and coalesce the different factions within the mediation world.

We’ve moved on very significantly and importantly since then. The CMC is no longer a club of mediators, but it is the voice for mediation. Our whole raison d’Ètre now is to promote and encourage mediation in all forms, not just commercial, we’ve moved away from that, but the workplace. I’m endeavouring to forge links as far as I can with the community mediators. There are many, many others. There’s restorative justice. There’s peer-group mediation.

Of course, separately, there’s family mediation. They’ve been in existence longer than we have, but we are collaborating very successfully, with them, in order to try and create one voice for mediation. That’s my ambition.

Aled: I wanted to get on to some of the barriers that may exist, that might be holding mediation back. Is it possible that, you talked about the different factions, is that potentially a problem, diluting the influence or diluting the message of mediation?

Sir Alan: The man from Mars coming down and clicking onto a mediation website would be astonished to find the diversity of people who hold themselves out as mediators. Most of them, of course, are at war with each other. The biggest need for the world of mediation is a bit of mediation between these warring groups. Of course, will they agree? Not on your nelly.

I would like to see all of that put aside. Competition for the work is one thing, and competition is never a bad thing. If mediation is to establish itself as a profession, and we are a long, long way from doing that . . . There has to be a professional body looking after that profession, a body that is capable of setting standards and exercising some discipline. You can’t have that spread among a whole range of groups with each little corner proclaiming its ascendancy. You really do need a single voice.

I believe the government is supportive of that. Certainly Lord Faulks, the Minister of State for Justice, at our conference last year was keen to support our ambitions in that regard and to recognise the need for a single voice, if possible.

Aled: Part of the mandate, if you like, of the CMC, Civil Mediation Council, you talked about coalesce the different factions, become this one voice. As well as promoting mediation and increasing participation in mediation, to what extent are you hoping to set some kind of professional standard for mediators? How are you thinking about going about that?

Sir Alan: We’ve recently launched, earlier this year, our scheme for registration. CMC will not only accept members, but mediators who wish now to register. We’ve used the word register rather than accredit. Registered mediators will have some stamp of approval from CMC. It’ll be some kite mark of competence. With luck, it’ll grow and it’ll progress.

And, it’ll serve the central purpose, and this is important, of giving the public some confidence that the mediator to whom the entrust the resolution of their dispute has had a sufficient training, does follow an appropriate code of conduct, does have a complaints procedure, will be sufficiently insured, and will be kept up to date by having to undergo continuing professional training, getting CPD points.

In that way, with luck, we will began to set a low key level of – I don’t like the word ‘regulation’, it conjures up terrible images, but something akin to that would work to the advantage of mediators and more importantly to the advantage of those who use mediation.

Aled: Something that springs to mind, that’s the chicken or the egg dilemma with regard to supply and demand for mediators and mediation cases. Let me ask you, how do we increase participation, increase engagement, increase the number of cases coming, not just through civil and commercial, but more broadly into mediation, people opting for mediation?

Sir Alan: It’s a time of a general election, I remember an election not long ago where the prime minister of the day preached education, education, education. I would like to give the same message, perhaps with more success than he may have achieved. I don’t know. But yes, the public have to be educated into the benefits of mediation. They have to somehow be persuaded that it will save them time. It will save them money. It will save them emotional energy.

In terms of business, they’re not paying lawyers a massive sum of money. They’re not wasting their manager’s time in working on the litigation when they could be earning the profits for the company. In that way, we have to persuade, well, the world really, that it works.

We had a meeting a year or so ago trying to restore an initiative that was begun under a previous Minister of State in this government to encourage business to commit to the use of ADR. With a change in the deployment in the MOJ, that just sank it into, I don’t know, oblivion somewhere. We tried to resurrect it. To my astonishment, I had an official from BIS, Business, Innovation, and Skills, say to me, ‘Prove the case that mediation works.’

There is abundant evidence that it works, but it is surely common sense that business should embrace it. Assume you have a member of your staff whose life is bedeviled by an acrimonious divorce or separation. Who has problems dealing with his children that could be quickly, quietly, and effectively resolved by family mediation, relieving him of the anxiety. Relieving him of taking days off work, endlessly, to deal with that personal problem. That must advance his profitability to the company.

Assume there’s a work place dispute. There’s a struggle within the office which is tearing everybody apart. Why not have your in-house, work-place mediation there to resolve it? Then you have another poor worker who’s having sleepless nights because the neighbor upstairs is banging around endlessly and jumping up and down and keeping him awake. There’s a thing called ‘community mediation’, which works fabulously well as I’ve seen, as I’ve observed them at work, to resolve their neighborhood dispute.

Finally, you’ve got the management who’s spending thousands of pounds and hours and hours and hours on ligitation to take a case to the court, having been told by their counsel, ‘This is a hum-dinging certain winner. You’re going to win.’ What happens? They lose and they have to pay the other side’s costs. Are they happy with the advice? On the contrary. They should not be happy with the advice. They should have said, ‘Why didn’t you get us to settle?’

Then, of course, they won before the judge. Then they go on appeal. If you had a County Court battle, there’s a 40% chance you may lose on appeal. It may be a 20% chance if you had your trial before one of the clever clogs of the Chancery Division or the Commercial Court, but there’s still a risk that on appeal the judgment will be changed. Litigation is inherently uncertain, and inevitably costly in terms of time and money. It just makes sense.

Aled: It does, common sense, but it isn’t common practice.

Sir Alan: No. That’s the problem.

Aled: That’s so frustrating for mediators. What’s the plan? What plan does the CMC have to educate, to change mindsets, to change practices? Do they have some proposals for the next 12 months?

Sir Alan: Things have gone very quiet in the Ministry of Justice because of this pending election. But, there is no doubt, looking at what the politicians say, that whoever comes into government in ten days’ time will have to embark on some further programme of austerity. There is no money available.

Therefore, the trick has to be, to get hold of government, at all levels not just the Ministry of Justice, but involve the Department of the Environment to deal with the problems that local authorities have with their housing, with their neighbours, with their applications for possession orders.

To engage the Ministry of Health, to say, ‘Before you have horrendously complicated and difficult clinical negligence actions, think about mediation.’ Can I give you an example, of a case which seemed to me so to cry out for mediation that it was desperate.

We read about, a while ago, the couple whose boy was suffering from I think leukaemia or brain cancer, I forget, at Southampton Hospital. The parents took him off to Spain. A hue and cry and arrest warrants, and goodness knows what.

That is not a typical case where misunderstanding breeds mistrust, and mistrust leads to extreme action. If a mediator could have sat the parents down with the treating doctors and tried to persuade each of them to see the point of view of the other, I would have been astonished if you couldn’t have had a satisfactory result coming from it.

The government have begun to consider mediation in Court of Protection cases where you have people under disability. We had a meeting with one official six or eight months ago. I’ve heard nothing more, but why not try it? Why not involve all aspects of government? Why not clear the prisons, as the Netherlands have done, by a greater use of restorative justice?

I addressed a meeting of European judges in June of last year at a huge conference in Paris, attended by ministers of justice, presidents of their supreme courts, and little Alan Ward. I heard a point made by the president of the Netherlands Supreme Court who said, ‘I’m a criminal lawyer. I’ve always been a criminal lawyer. That’s my passion. Here in Holland, we have embraced restorative justice in a case where it has a chance of working.’

If it works, and we find it does work, and experience in England shows it does work, we delay the sentencing until we’ve gone through this process. If there is a good chance of it being effective, we are more likely to give a non-custodial sentence than bang the little villain who’s been burgling the poor little lady to feed his drug habit, send him to an overcrowded prison where he’s locked up for 23 hours out of 24, where he gets no education except how to become a better criminal, and the prison population increases, the recidivism increases.

The contrary is experienced in Holland. Within weeks of my coming back, headlines in The Time, the Minister of Justice is going to spend x million on building three more prisons. To what avail? Why not try restorative justice, proven to save money, etc.? There is a huge resistance on the part of government to do the obvious thing.

Aled: What are the roots of that resistance if it seems so plain as day?

Sir Alan: Some of it may be political. Can you imagine the outcry if you didn’t send people to prison? Can you imagine certain newspapers whom I dare not name, those newspapers who once said, “Oh, Lord Justice Ward may be a very clever man, but he’s utterly amoral.” That was because I granted what was then called a super injunction. A lot of middle England wouldn’t really understand that it does work and why it works. Likewise, they don’t understand that mediation can work.

Aled: Yeah. I was approached a couple of years ago by a production company. They want to do a documentary, a fly on the wall documentary about mediation in the work place. I met with them. We sat down and we talked about . . . I explained mediation and what it is, what it isn’t. Then I explained what I would participate in and what I wouldn’t participate in. I talked about informed choice, party self-determination. Then they thought, ‘Yeah, that wouldn’t be good telly. Couldn’t we sort of sex it up a little bit?’ Unfortunately, it probably isn’t good television.

Sir Alan: There are moves afoot currently to try and produce a programme of mediation. It is difficult. We’re working on it is one of the ideas. If only we could get mediation into EastEnders. That would be a big boost.

Aled: Absolutely. I guess one of the challenges might be the wrap of confidentiality that surrounds the mediation process.

Sir Alan: Which is essential to the process and therefore is a stumbling block to the public coming in to see mediation at work.

Aled: What I find curious about the notion of confidentiality, I read somewhere there was a time when people wanted to keep their innermost thoughts and secrets to themselves. They would diarise them and lock the diary away. Now people are just putting all those innermost thoughts and feelings on social media because they want everyone to know about it.

You’ve got television programmes like Jeremy Kyle where people come on and talk and are happy to be on show. Yet coming into a mediation meeting, which would seem a very, on the one hand, a difficult thing to do but potentially a rewarding thing to do. People seem to be, it’s hard to find participants to engage in the process.

Sir Alan: I wonder about that. Judge Judy seems to have no difficulty. I think there’s an English programme, isn’t there? Is he Judge Rinder?

Aled: I don’t know.

Sir Alan: Who are the Beatles is a question I still have to find an answer to. He’s doing a kind of television programme on resolving small disputes sitting as a judge, like Judge Judy. Whether you could do that in mediation is interesting.

Aled: I watched something recently on television of a real case, a restorative justice, of a perpetrator of a crime who’d served his prison sentence and wanted to get in touch with the victim of the crime. It was all put together. There were some misrepresentations in the way that the meetings are handled, but that was from a technical perspective, I think.

However, I watched it and I couldn’t help but feel really drawn into the experience. It was very powerful. I think it would be incredibly useful to have something like a mediation meeting on a show like EastEnders. You can imagine the Christmas Day edition. It’s sitting around the table with a mediator.

Sir Alan: When this video goes viral, we’ll both be asked to participate.

Aled: Yes indeed. Let’s hope it does. Let’s hope the mediation word goes viral. I do feel like we’re on the cusp of a breakthrough. I think we’re making a little progress.

Sir Alan: We’re making lots of progress. If you look at the survey conducted by CEDR, they do a biannual survey, the results published last year showed that they were recording, I think, 9,000 commercial type mediations, which was a big increase on the previous two years. They, moreover, were successful in at least 75% of them settling on the day and a number settling thereafter.

The astonishing statistics of the value of those findings really does show that it is increasing in popularity. The legal profession have got a lot to answer for. The legal profession are not always the keenest advocates of mediation, but they are changing. Many firms now have a dispute resolution department, whereas in the old days they had a litigation department.

I’m encouraged also because . . . I never had any experience of mediation. I did one in the family division when I was being a very naughty boy and shouldn’t have done, but it worked.

Aled: You might need to qualify being a naughty boy.

Sir Alan: I was being a naughty boy because it was all in chambers. I could misbehave and nobody would see it. It was a grandmother and her granddaughter, 19. The 19-year-old granddaughter wanted to have contact with a 15 year old sister who lived with granny. These two, as the welfare officer told me, hated each other. He’d never come across a case in his many years of experience, a grey-haired welfare officer, where I feel the only word to describe it is ‘hatred’.

‘I can’t help you, my Lord’, and he was released. These two were in front of me, in person. I allowed this one to say and that one interrupted. I just let them have their say. By around half past two, they’d begun to see sense. By three o’clock, I said, ‘I think you need to go across the road in The Strand and have a cup of coffee and settle the fine details. Are you prepared to go?’ ‘Yes.’ said the granddaughter. ‘No.’ said granny. ‘For God’s sake. Why not?’

‘Because I can’t afford it.’

‘Oh, bloody hell. Here you are.’

I found £10, gave it to granny and said, ‘Take her for coffee and sort it out.’ Off they went, came back hand-in-hand at 4 o’clock, all hunky dory, all agreed. ‘Well done. So pleased for you. Congratulations.’ The usual stuff. They turned to go and I said, ‘Excuse me, could I have the change please?’

‘No.’ said granny. ‘Why not?’

‘I’ve got to take the other one to coffee tomorrow morning.’ My judicial mediation cost me £10, but I hope it worked.

Aled: So you were saying you’re seeing the green shoots of . . .

Sir Alan: I think I’m seeing green shoots, yes. I really do believe it. I’m seeing it also because mediation, ADR, is now a subject being taught in the universities. Our academic committee were telling me that some years ago, they were bold enough to run a post-graduate course at which half a dozen or so bold souls signed up to learn about mediation, ADR. Now they’re finding that they’re running that as undergraduate courses. The law schools are teaching ADR. We are getting a new generation of young lawyers who understand what it is, who know how it works, who know that it works.

Finally, the old guard will disappear and the opponents of ADR who believe it’s an acronym for ‘Accepting Diminished Remuneration’, they will gradually fall off their perches. A more enlightened young generation will embrace it more keenly. A credit to my brother and sister judges, the Senior Judiciary could not be more supportive of mediation. The Court of Appeal have given a number of judgments saying, ‘Mediate, or don’t mediate at your peril.’

At our conference next month, the president of the Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger, will address us. He is a great advocate of mediation. He sees it as a twin track to justice, you run in parallel, the two systems. Mediation and litigation aren’t in conflict. You can move from one to the other, and so you should. So the judiciary are supporting it. The profession will gradually have to come to terms with the fact that if they don’t mediate, their client may pay the penalty.

Aled: Incentivising parties to participate in mediation, not so much coercing them into it, but there’s a concept called ‘Nudge’. Have you come across ‘Nudge’?

Sir Alan: No.

Aled: It’s like the idea of libertarian paternalism where you present an option to a party that you think is more favourable than the other. It’s a bit like queuing up in the canteen and putting the cream cakes just out of your eye line, and just putting all the salads there. You can still have the cream cake, but the salads are the thing that first catches your eye. You have to stretch a little bit for the cream cakes. In the same way, having ADR or mediation as the default. Assuming that parties, maybe it’s a radical idea, I know, but assuming parties in dispute opt out of mediation, rather having to opt in to mediation. What do you think of that?

Sir Alan: I’m in favour. The Italians demonstrate that that is effective. They move from enforcing mediation until the lawyers rose in protest, had it declared unlawful. It was then reintroduced as an opt in/opt out system and it is producing amazing results in Italy.

It is difficult, Aled. I was a party to the judgment in the great Halsey case, where we said you can’t force people to mediate. You can’t make mediation compulsory. In the case where you started with, I had a paragraph on mediation suggesting that the court could look at that decision again. It may be obiter and undoubtedly the European authority, on which we relied, has since been changed in Strasbourg.

Be that as it may be, the idea of compulsory mediation brings up all sorts of semantic difficulties. Mediation can’t be compulsory, in as much as, you can’t force people to reach a settlement. The essence of mediation is it’s a voluntary process. Compulsory must be defined properly. Can you force people to consider mediation? I see no reason why you can’t.

It’s being done in the family division. It’s being done in the employment tribunals. And, the Ministry of Justice have said they would look at it again for civil mediation. I really can’t see any reason why the judges can’t stay the proceedings for a short period of time. You are not closing the door on their right of access to justice, contrary to Article Six of the Human Rights Convention, but you stay it to say to the parties, “Go off and think about mediation.”

Then, if they refuse to, the so-called Ungly Order, after the Master Ungly, the party refusing should sign a statement there and then, or within a reasonable time after that hearing, saying why not. That can be opened at the end of the trial, if it goes to trial and they’ve lost, or in any event, to see whether it was an unreasonable refusal. If unreasonable, you penalise them with costs. There are ways of incentivising or punishing those who are recalcitrant.

Aled: Just to be clear, can you explain the Ungly Order again?

Sir Alan: Master Ungly, encouraging mediation, had his own little practice that you should, if you say no, maybe not at the hearing but in the immediate aftermath of the hearing, if you decline it, you should explain the reasons for your refusing even to consider mediation. I think that would be a good thing. You have to have a jolly good reason not, at least, to sit around the table to consider whether you can reach an agreement.

If you sit around the table, you’re supposed to come in good faith, but even when you come to the mediation room and you’re pretty well determined, ‘I’m not going to give an inch to that bunch of villains on the other side of the table.’ the skilled mediator at least has the chance to explain why it is important. I think that impartial mediator does begin to assume an importance.

When I sat in the family division dealing with, horrible, children’s cases a very well-known psychiatrist said to me, as he watched me trying to manoeuvre parties to see the other side’s point of view, just turn them, turn them, turn them. He said to me, ‘You have a unique opportunity in this court room to affect a change of attitude that I find impossible to recreate in my clinical consulting rooms at the hospital.’

In the same way, I think the mediator brings to the process a dynamic which is enforced by, infused by, informed by, A) his independence, and B) his authority, which is bred from that independence to get people to say, ‘What are the consequences of your refusing to mediate?’ The reality testing that we all go through, I think it’s worth a shot. I really do think it is worth doing.

Aled: Yeah. Professor Frank Sander talked about the difference between coercion into mediation and coercion in mediation.

Sir Alan: Absolutely. It’s very well put. The government have promised to look at it. With respect to my friend Ed Faulks, I think he’s had other things on his mind in the last year. I’m not sure how much they’ve done. But, we really do have to tackle the new administration as soon as possible after this election is settled and try and really encourage them to do so.

Aled: Yes. You alluded to the fact that the CMC conference, annual conference, is taking place very soon. Could you say a little bit more about that and what’s going to be happening at the conference? What can delegates expect? I’ll be one of them, cheering from the sidelines.

Sir Alan: The conference, the title of the conference: ‘Is Mediation Meeting Participants’ Expectations?’ It’s a question directed at users of mediation. So we have a session where there are the users explaining why. I would like to find some user who explains why they won’t engage in mediation. That’s a large part of it.

We’ve got workshops which we are covering, not just the commercial mediators and not just the lawyers, but we’re covering work-place mediation and community mediation.

I’m constantly faced with the criticism that CMC is lawyer dominated and that it is too heavy an emphasis. I’m trying to break away from that. The new CMC Limited will have three independent directors on the board. I’m hoping they will allay some of the fears that we’re totally skewed by the commercial, legal world. What I want to do is I want to bring in community and work place. They’re noble people, not lawyers.

Aled: Say you and I are sitting down after the conference is finished and we’re having a little cheeky one to reflect on the –

Sir Alan: I can’t believe you’re ever cheeky.

Aled: A little cheeky one, and we’re reflecting on the day’s conference. What, for you, do you imagine would be a really good outcome from this? What would you like to happen throughout the course of that day?

Sir Alan: I’d like to feel that people leave the conference, A) enthused by what we’re doing and, B) embracing our attempts to set up this programme of registered mediators for the benefit of them and the benefit of the public. I’d like them to feel that we are not concentrating on the commercial mediators but are trying to expand into the work place and community. I’d like them to feel that we’re doing our best to promote mediation. That’s what I’m here for.

Aled: Super. I’m looking forward to hearing what some of the users have to say at the conference.

Sir Alan: I’ve just had to complete a form, which I posted yesterday to Who’s Who to change my Who’s Who entry. It’s varied over the years, but they pointed out that since my retirement, the last bit was inappropriate. You have to say what your recreations are. For the last 18 years in the Court of Appeal, Ward has said, “Recreation, when not reading or writing boring judgments, trying to remember what recreation is.” I’ve now had to change it. My recreation, as you will read in the next edition of Who’s Who, may be as gamekeeper turned poacher, preaching the gospel, ‘Mediate, don’t litigate.’

Aled: Sir Alan, on that note, I want to say a huge thank you. I really appreciate your note and your generosity. We’ve had a few calls setting up this interview. If people want to find more out about the CMC conference or the CMC in general, where’s the best place to go?

Sir Alan: Our website, Civil Mediation Council. It’s about to be . . . we’re spending a lot of money improving it. Look on the website and you’ll find details of the conference and details of registration, and in a couple of months, I hope a great deal more beside.

Aled: Wonderful.

Sir Alan: There we are. It’s been quite fun. As one who spent his time in Cape Town, are you a Welshman who speaks Afrikaans or an Afrikaner who speaks Welsh, I can’t work out, but I should say ‘Baie dankie, meneer’, which means thank you very much.

Aled: What’s the response to ‘Baie dankie, meneer’?

Sir Alan: [Afrikaans 00:50:02] is until I see you again. Good bye.

Aled: [Afrikaans 00:50:04].

Sir Alan: [Afrikaans 00:50:07].

Aled: [Afrikaans 00:50:08], that was my . . .

Sir Alan: [Afrikaans 00:50:10]?

Aled: Yes.

Sir Alan: I can’t understand you. There we are. Okay Aled, it was fun. Thank you.

Aled: Thank you.

Sir Alan: I hope someday you’ll be able to have a drink which will be more than the water from the horse’s trough and perhaps a drop of something else in it.

Aled: Yes, indeed.

Sir Alan: Come to the conference.

Aled: I am, yes.

Sir Alan: Oh are you?

Aled: I’m fully booked. I’m paid up. I’ll be there.

Sir Alan: Well, I’ll raise a glass with you then.

Aled: Yes, indeed. I shall look forward to it.

About the mediator

Sir Alan Ward Profile Pic

Sir Alan Ward began his career in the law signing Articles of Clerkship attorneys in Pretoria, South Africa on his 17th birthday. He was duly admitted and practised as an Attorney until 1961 when he left to read law at Pembroke College, Cambridge. Among memorable moments of his time in South Africa, riven as it was by the injustices of apartheid, was his answering the telephone to Nelson Mandela who instructed him to represent his client in an ap... View Mediator