Open to all, but aimed at lawyers, mediators and scriptural scholars who
are interested in the study of religious scriptural sources from a variety of
faith traditions. It is hoped that the participants will be able to use their
learning to benefit themselves, their clients and communities.

DATE Wednesday 19 July 2017
TIME 08.00 – 9.30am

VENUE Charles Russell Speechlys, 5 Fleet Place, London

TOPIC Scriptural Guidance on the significance of gender within
faith communities

FACILITATORS Sarah Anticoni and Dr Zaza Elsheikh

COST Free – Breakfast generously provided by our hosts
Charles Russell Speechlys

RSVP Please let Joanna
know by 10 July 2017 if you are able to join us.
Numbers are limited to 30 so please do not delay in
reserving your place at this increasingly popular

Office: BIMA | The Base, Dartford Business Park | Victoria Road, Dartford, DA1 5FS, Kent
Telephone: 01322 314 820 | Email: |

BIMA Breakfast 8th February 2017


Open to all, but aimed at mediators who are interested in faith and conflict
DATE: Wednesday 8th February 2017 TIME: 08.30 – 10.00am
VENUE: International Dispute Resolution Centre (Canteen),
70 Fleet St, London EC4Y 1EU
FACILITATOR: Stephen Hall Endesek Limited

Drawing upon his experiences in the Middle East, Stephen Hall will facilitate a session on  “Building Dialogue in the absence of the Rule of Law”

Cost: Free – Breakfast will cost £8.00*
*Breakfast is free for BIMA’s full members
Please let David Richbell know if you are coming and if you
would like breakfast (
Office: BIMA | The Base, Dartford Business Park | Victoria Road, Dartford, DA1 5FS, Kent

In conflict situations, parties may be influenced by their religious or cultural beliefs.

BIMA is a registered charity which raises awareness of the need and value of dialogue between individuals or groups who may hold extremely different views or beliefs.

Our peculiar public awareness events provide the conducive platform for constructive debates, and exchange of ideas or best practices in conflict resolution, community cohesion and peace building.

Mediator Training, Malaysia

I have just spent a week with the CIArb training commercial mediators in Malaysia.

4899917f-7d74-48d4-a796-1f547e8cd30f-originalThe CIArb Mediation Training Programme co-organised by the CIArb Malaysia Branch and the KLRCA (28th Nov – 4th Dec). Pictured here; Datuk Professor Sundra Rajoo, Director of KLRCA and President of CIArb with the faculty and candidates of 2016’s programme.

It was a great experience and I am always impressed by people being fluent in my language whereas I can speak none of theirs.

It was an intensive five days – I set off at 5am on Saturday and arrived their time at 11 am Sunday, going straight into a pre-course meeting. There is an eight hour time difference but that still meant 22 hours on a plane, taxi or airport lounge. The return journey started at 23.30 Friday and I arrived home around 15.00 on Saturday – so I missed the start of the England/Australia rugby test at Twickenham! We worked 08.30 to 18.00 each day, followed by a faculty meeting, so having a soak in a hot bath afterwards, followed by a Hendricks and tonic, was a (double) treat.

I had two inexperienced colleagues leading with me and four local shadow trainers, the intention being that they are eventually able to run their own course using local faculty, and there were twenty-one participants, mainly from Malaysia, some from Singapore and one from Hong Kong.

Unfortunately I saw nothing of Malaysia, except from the taxi drive to and from the airport and one visit to a Chinese restaurant. Otherwise, with the hotel being opposite the KLRCA building, I just saw a dual carriageway full of cars and motor bikes daring me to cross the road. However, I did experience some of the local food and realised that eating is a major part of Malaysian life. There was food at the venue to greet participants, food at coffee and tea breaks and at least four dishes to choose from at lunchtime. Not a time to think about my expanding waistline!

The course made me realise how much I miss training mediators. In Malaysia, which hasn’t really adopted mediation enthusiastically  (yet), it was like the pioneering days of the 1990’s in the UK. Seeing lights of understanding being switched on in people is a real privilege and makes all the travel and missing home worthwhile. The CIArb use a DVD of a case study, mediated by me, which participants must watch before coming on the course. This saves time on the first day by replacing what used to be a demonstration case study. But the eerie thing was that all the participants greeted me as if they already knew me, and in some cases they had watched the DVD so often that I was watching Richbell clones mediating the case studies! Poor souls!

David Richbell

Further Advanced Mediator Training

The Further Advanced Mediator course that we ran in Italy 11-16 September was a huge success. Mind you, given the beautiful surroundings of the Abbazia San Pietro and the restaurant attached to it (one of the top two in Umbria) it couldn’t really fail.

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We had nineteen experienced commercial mediators from five jurisdictions, plus the four faculty (Joanna Kalowski from Australia and Heather Allen, Lawrence Kershen and me from the UK). It was a great group in a great place and the feedback was fantastic:

“Congratulations for a wonderful event in the Abazzia. One of the rare events that could not be improved upon in any way. Not much encouragement needed to draw me back again”.

“Thank you for running such an interesting, challenging and enjoyable course. Framed by an incomparable setting but made by the people. I hope you can be persuaded to run it again”

“I think what struck me was the breadth of what we covered – practical skills, philosophical debate and scientific frameworks”.

We hope to run the course once more, in 2018 (probably 23-28th September) and provisional bookings are already being taken!

Advanced Mediator Training

A year ago I sent an invitation to mediators who had been on the MATA Advanced Mediator Retreat, which we ran for ten years up to 2010, to come on a further advanced course at the same venue,

San Pietro in Valle in Umbria.


We now have a full course of nineteen participants and four faculty (below..

Joanna Kalowski from Australia,
mediator, facilitator and judicial educator, and .. director of Joanna Kalowski and Associates, a management consultancy specialising in dispute resolution, cross-cultural communication and organisational development.  She has worked for over twenty years in Australia and New Zealand, as well as in Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong and India. Over the last seven years, Joanna has also run workshops in Italy, Germany, England, Denmark, Spain, Switzerland and France, including a three-day summer school for the Centre de Mediation de Paris (CMAP) in 2005, conducted in French on Majorca.
Lawrence Kershen QC, 
Lawrence now works exclusively in mediation and ADR, and in training others in mediation and negotiation skills. He has been actively involved in the development of Restorative Justice in the UK, both in the criminal field and in schools and organisations. From 2003-12 Lawrence was a Board member and latterly Chair of the Restorative Justice Council, and is trained as a restorative facilitator. To support the international work of Search for Common Ground in conflict transformation and peace-building he helped establish Search for Common Ground in the UK in 2007. He was its Chair until 2012 and remains a Board member. In 2007 he was honoured to be appointed Chief Pa Kumrabai of Yoni Bana Chiefdom in Sierra Leone. He is a certified trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and is also accredited as a trainer of Nonviolent Communication, the work of Dr Marshall Rosenberg. 
 Heather Allen. 
Heather is well known as a mediator trainer and coach and is the Head of CEDR Faculty. She works internationally, training and assessing mediators, and also working with experienced mediators on training and facilitation skills so that they can in turn provide training for local professionals. Her experience of working in different traditional social contexts, including in predominantly Muslim societies, adds a useful dimension to her mediation practice.
She also acts as a supervisor for experienced mediators and provides post-accreditation and advanced development for practicing mediators.
In addition to her training activities Heather also works regularly with the judiciary and other professionals in developing the wider use of mediation. She has worked as a consultant with jurisdictions abroad, such as Morocco, that are introducing mediation as part of their civil justice system.

..and me).

All participants are experienced mediators and the course is structured around the inner and outer mediator, trying to push the boundaries for both participants and faculty. We have participants from Australia, Kenya, Pakistan and France as well as the UK.

The venue ( is breathtaking. It is a converted Abbey and we have sole use. We will work in the vaulted apothecary but most of the time we will be working in the gardens or the cloisters.


This was meant to be a one-off course but many, who cannot make 2016, have asked if we could run it again in 2017. Watch this space!

C of E Regional Shared Conversations on human sexuality

We are now at the end of the Church of England’s Regional Shared Conversations on human sexuality. There were thirteen three-day Conversations around the country, each facilitated by around seven or eight mediators and I did five. They were quite challenging, not least because as a facilitator my own views and beliefs (which were sometimes very different to those of some participants) had to be suppressed.

It has been very enlightening though, and a privilege, to hear other Christian’s strongly held beliefs expressed and valued by others who believed differently.

download (1)

The whole purpose of the Conversations was to create a safe space for people to talk, understand and value difference, and it was an undoubted success. The intention was not to find answers, just to share and understand, which is a real luxury in today’s society.

CMC Conference 11th May 2016 – workshop

On Wednesday 11th May 2016 my son Oliver (reformed solicitor) and I are running a workshop at the CMC Conference. It will be interesting because it will be our first conference since setting up The Dispute Resolution Partnership last year. The DRP covers Avoidance, Management and Resolution of disputes, and our session on Wednesday will focus on dispute avoidance and in particular on having difficult conversations.

Ironic that a solicitor and mediator should be helping people avoid disputes – doing ourselves out of business perhaps. But in all our work we see situations where we know that if only a person had said or done (or not said or not done) something early on they wouldn’t be needing us. So our aim is to help people say or do the right thing and so avoid a situation escalating into a dispute.



University of Ljubljani Lecture

I am currently in Slovenia, speaking at a conference, lecturing to law students and leading a mediation workshop.

The really odd thing is not so much the lack of commercial mediation here, although it has become more established in family disputes, but the fact that nobody asks questions. I recall it was like that in Italy years ago when we did some awareness training, and the same thing happens here. Especially the students. I am told the sessions went well and that the three questions that were asked at the end were three more than normal! The trouble is it is very difficult to judge how the session is being received if there are no questions or discussion.

slajderuncitral2Read my presentation here: MEDIATION OF COMMERCIAL DISPUTES SLOVENIA 2016ppt

I much prefer to respond to questions as they arise and to focus the discussion on where they are and what they find most interesting. No comments or questions leaves me feeling very isolated.

Further Advanced Mediator Retreat in Italy

In association with the Dispute Resolution Partnership I am running a course for experienced mediators in Italy this September.
Date: 11-16 September 2016
Venue: San Pietro in Valle. To view the venue click here to visit the hotel website:


Cost: £3,850 (no VAT) which includes taxis from/to Rome airport, accommodation, food and course fees.
Course Faculty includes: Joanna Kalowski, Heather Allen, Lawrence Kershen QC and David Richbell.

If you wish to book, a deposit of £850 secures a place.
Please let David know if you are interested (

Mediator’s Breakfast Club

David Richbell, Dave Owen and Michael Cover invite you to join them at the


on Wednesday 13th November 2013 @ 8.00 a.m for 8.30am with guest speaker Sir Alan Ward, Chairman of the Civil Mediation Council.

Topic:  The Challenges of Mediation.

At The Punch Tavern, 99 Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 1DE,

The agenda will be: 8.00am networking and 8.30am the talk.

Breakfast is served in the private dining area. The menu offers Croissants, pastries, buttered kipper, eggs Benedict, devilled Kidney, full English breakfast or a simple omelette.
£5.00 is payable on the day.

Attendance counts for 1 CPD point towards CMC requirements.

David Richbell, Dave Owen and I very much look forward to seeing you at this event, where we are returning to our original theme of developing our practices as mediators and developing the overall market.

Please let us know whether you will be attending, so that we can get the catering arrangements right. We may have to limit the numbers, so please respond as soon as possible. Also, please let us know if you have any special dietary requirements.

Email to confirm your attendance.

There is also a Mediators’ New Breakfast Club group on LinkedIn.

Best wishes,
Michael Cover
☎ Tel: 020 7203 5134
☎ Mobile: 07766 225 128