UWE Bristol Law students in top four at International Mediation Competition

Issue date: 26 March 2014


A trio of Law students from UWE Bristol were crowned fourth in the world at the International Mediation Competition held by the InterNational Academy of Dispute Resolution (INADR) at Loyola University, Chicago in March 2014.

This is the first time that Bristol Law School at UWE Bristol has entered a team in the competition.

Year Two LLB (Hons) undergraduates Alex Gummery, Marcello Sanzari and Oliver Farrant were one of only two English undergraduate teams competing against tough competition from around 50 other Universities from the USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Germany, India, Sri Lanka, Lithuania, Australia, Russia and Ukraine.

INADR sponsors an international law school mediation tournament every year. The tournament provides law students with the opportunity to learn about various forms and techniques used in mediation, as well as the opportunity to practice their mediation skills in friendly competition with other students from around the world

After a tough first three rounds, UWE Bristol qualified as one of the best teams for the semi-final, losing out to the eventual winners, USA's Tulane University to finish an impressive fourth in the world.

Oliver Farrant (Advocate) and Marcello Sanzari (Client) were awarded the prize for 4th best Advocate/Client team. Giving his reaction to winning the prize, Oliver said, “We're over the moon to have done so well in our first ever competition. It was awe-inspiring, an amazing opportunity to meet other international students, to learn about their countries and the cultural differences in how law is practised around the world. We're looking forward to meeting up again in Germany with the German, Russian and Ukrainian teams in the summer.”

The team from UWE Bristol were awarded the prize for Outstanding New Mediation Programme. Alex Gummery brought the team together after meeting Tom Vallente from INADR at a conference. He said, “After e-mails with Tom, I pitched the idea to my Law tutor Marcus Keppel-Palmer who helped to get the whole thing off the ground. He's been a fantastic coach and we're really grateful to him for all his support. Thanks also to our tutors on the Dispute Resolution Module for helping us to prepare and especially to Bristol Law School and the University for making this experience possible through funding our entry.”

For Marcello Sanzari confidence is one of the key skills that he will take away from the competition. He adds, “In the semi-finals it was a pressurised environment presenting in front of an audience including judges from the Greek Parliament. We were competing against the eventual winners on the Thai/Cambodian temple dispute. This opportunity has given me extra confidence in my advocacy skills, stepping out of the classroom to gain practical experience of real life cases. It was a once in a life time opportunity.”

The experience has inspired the team to enter more competitions. Alex Gummery is working with Bristol Law School to stage an international law competition at UWE Bristol next year.

Marcus Keppel-Palmer, Senior Lecturer at UWE Bristol, said, “Congratulations to Alex, Oliver and Marcello on their excellent performance and being such wonderful advocates for Bristol Law School and the University on a global stage. Their commitment to this extra-curricular activity, their professionalism and ambition speaks volumes to the quality of students at the University.

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