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: |

Workshop with Geoffrey Corry


working in partnership with



 A one-day Workshop with Geoffrey Corry


Dialogue Facilitator and former Chair of the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, Ireland

facilitated by Zaza Elsheikh and David Richbell

 The role of the Mediator/Facilitator in creating safe space through holding second track dialogue workshops and helping to rebuild understanding, trust and forgiveness between communities fractured by broken relationships, dispute and violence: Lessons from the British-Irish peace process

At the

iod-579a429b1e46e-579a53d290e0cTrafalgar 2 room,

The Institute of Directors

116 Pall Mall, London



On 5th July 2017 from 09.30

followed by a drinks reception at 4.30pm

and the BIMA AGM at 6pm


Cost: £250 BIMA and DRP members

£325 non-members

including lunch and reception


To book contact David



Event for Faithful Peacemakers

BIMA Breakfast for Faithful Peacemakers

This event is open to all, but aimed at mediators who are interested in faith and conflict

 DATE: Wednesday 12th April 2017                TIME: 08.30 – 10.00am

VENUE: International Dispute Resolution Centre, 70 Fleet St, London EC4Y 1EU

TOPIC: “Bridging Extreme Differences in Ireland”

SPEAKER: Geoffrey Corry

RSVP: 6 April 2017

 geoffrey corryGeoffrey is a Mediator based in Dublin and was involved in the peace negotiations. He knew Martin McGuinness and witnessed the transformation from being a man of violence to peacemaker. We will have an opportunity to explore the potential for sustainable reconciliation in the complex contexts of cultural identity, religious belief, chronic bereavement, conflict and mistrust.


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 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.

Mediation Analysis of 2016

reviewI did an analysis of last year’s mediations recently. January is always a quiet month for me, so it justified my being in the office! It threw up some interesting statistics – well, interesting to me.

% Percentages….

The 2016 mediations covered eleven sectors (although some covered more than one) and 44% were construction; Professional Negligence and other Insurance being the next largest sector (20%). 77% of the construction cases settled but only 50% of the PI/Insurance. Best for settlement was Liquidations, Sports and Probate (all 100%) but together they only accounted for 12% of the mediations. Worst was a neighbour dispute (only one) which didn’t settle and so I scored a resounding 0% settlement.

Overall I had a 73% settlement rate, less than 2015 but still around the common wisdom of 70-80% settlement of commercial disputes nationally.

Total value of claims was £61,364,000 plus counterclaims of £13,963,000 but that is distorted by one claim being £48,754,000 plus £10,840,000 counterclaim.

In the end statistics are irrelevant. Settlement rates should be irrelevant. The mediator’s role is to give the parties the best chance of getting a deal. It is the parties responsibility to make the best of that opportunity. If they foul it up, that is their problem. If the mediator leaves a mediation being able to honestly say that s/he gave them the best opportunity, whether they settled or not, then it should be seen as a job well done.

We are in the business of making people’s lives better.

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

All Parliamentary Party Group on ADR

Last month I attended the All Parliamentary Party Group on ADR at the House of Commons. Several of us (eight in all) were giving a presentation to MP’s about the use and value of mediation in various sectors (environment, faith, commercial, community, schools, international, family and restorative justice).

These meetings are a regular occurrence and are organised by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. The idea is great and it is lovely to think that mediation could be of interest to our MP’s, especially with the Brexit negotiations. If ever there was a situation that cried out for co-operative problem-solving it is our negotiations with the European Union where it is in everyone’s interest to get the BEST deal both for the UK AND Europe.

Unfortunately only three MP’s turned up (plus the Chair) for the APPG on ADR. I felt both disappointed and cross, that the eight of us had prepared and delivered something that should be seen as of real benefit, yet only three considered it to be worth two hours of their time. Yet another barrier of ignorance.


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!

Reconciliation and fractured relationships

It is often a disappointment to me that reconciliation rarely happens in commercial mediation. One of the benefits that we tend to identify when we are marketing mediation is the possibility of restoring fractured relationships, but it rarely happens in my experience. Perhaps it does afterwards, without my knowledge. Perhaps settling a dispute enables the parties to settle and start to see each other as human beings again.

Anyway, I had a mediation a few weeks ago where the parties were reconciled – or at least the process started as the mediation ended. It was a dispute between a mother and her two sons over her estate, which she had signed over to them, but now wanted back. The sons were concerned that their mother had been subjected to outside influence, causing her to change her mind. It promised to be a harrowing mediation but in fact it was sorted with good grace and the mother and her two sons went into a room alone for a little while, when the settlement had been agreed and signed, and came out smiling. That made me smile too!

We are in the business of making people’s lives better.

The Impact of the EU Mediation Directive 2008 & the effect that Brexit has had on English Mediation Practice

An interview conducted by Giovanni de Berti with David Richbell.


Q: Mediation has existed in Britain from many years. Laws and courts began to take notice of it since the early nineties. What was the impact of the EU Mediation Directive of 2008? Had English mediation law and practice to be accommodated, was it and how?

A: Commercial mediation in the UK really started, although very slowly, in the early 1990’s but really became taken seriously after the Woolf reforms in 1999. Those reforms meant that ADR (usually mediation) had to be considered by the parties, so it became an established, and serious, process which lawyers had to consider and recommend. In the years since then it has become expected (although it is not mandatory) that parties enter mediation before trial.

The EU Directive therefore came at a time when mediation had been long established in the UK, so it had no real impact. In fact I believe several UK mediators used their experience in helping to draft the Directive (or at least removing some of the more unrealistic parts).

Q: Did the EU Directive have positive, negative or no effects on the mediation practice, domestic or international, of English mediators?

A: The only changes in the UK were to allow limitation periods to be suspended during a mediation, to create settlement enforcement orders (which I believe has never been used) and to adopt a (rather odd) rule about admitting confidential mediation evidence at trials. So it had very little effect other than to ratify what we were already doing.

Q: Has Brexit had already some effect on English mediation practice, domestic or international?

A: Brexit has had no identifiable effect on mediation practice in the UK, other than the fact that most of us are still in a state of shock. However, being an optimist, I see this as a real opportunity for mediation skills to be used in creative ways.

Q: Do you think / hope / fear it will have in future?

A: I have a strong belief that Brexit has provided us with an opportunity to change how we debate, both in parliament and in general. I have been involved in facilitating conversations on human sexuality in the church and it has changed the way that issues are debated and decisions made. In the past the General Synod has operated in the same way as our parliament – debating issues in a binary (for/against) way. We facilitated discussions that increased understanding and acceptance of differences and led to co-operation in decision-making.

Some time soon the British parliament will be leaving the Houses of Parliament to enable substantial renovation of the buildings. It is an opportunity for debates to be less adversarial and more like the church facilitated conversations, if only because the debating chamber does not have to have seating that faces each party and creates a divide. It is a great opportunity and we shall see if the MP’s are wise enough to grasp it.

The Brexit debate in the UK showed MP’s at their very worst. The public generally were disgusted at the awful level of debate and the lack of real information. Many voted in protest at the level to which our MP’s had descended, rather than against being part of the EU (although the level of debate in the European Parliament has not always been considered to be great either).

The Brexit negotiations should be mediated. They desperately need a co-operative approach. Unfortunately, they have already become adversarial even before the formal process has started. I despair!

Q: In your opinion, should English mediation law or practice change because of Brexit and how?

A: I don’t see how Brexit will affect the mediation world. I can’t see Parliament finding time for a Mediation Bill and there is not much support for compulsory mediation (although some out-of-work mediators do like the idea!).

Q: Is the position in Scotland different? Which impact would have Brexit on Scottish mediation practice?

A: At the moment the position in Scotland is no different to the rest of the UK. Although Scotland has its own laws, and mediation is not so common, the impact is similar. However, Scotland voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU and Brexit appears to have strengthened the Nationalist case for independence. So who knows what will happen in the future? There is undoubtedly the need for mediation skills, but will they use them?