I recently got back from a fun 5 days judging and mediating at the International Chamber of Commerce Mediation Competition in Paris. Here are my 5 top tips from observing the competitors that I think are helpful for anyone involved in mediations as a lawyer or client.

1.  Do not over-complicate the opening statement with lots of detail over case histories or plans for the mediation.  Instead, focus on a key theme and a purpose for the mediation.

2.  Think about how you can help the other side to understand what you are saying.  Make it normal to ask for clarifications of language and meaning by suggesting this point in the opening.

3.  Work out which points are likely to be difficult for the other party before the mediation. Do not attempt to ignore, water down or sneak through these points.  Rather, introduce them as points for discussion early on.

4.  If the mediation is a positive collaboration, you need to scrutinise the terms of the deal as much for workability, as in a standard deal.  Do not be blinded by good will.

5.  Finally, the other side may dislike what you want to talk about but they should never dislike your tone.  Be reasonable and measured at all times.


Frederick is Head of the CEDR Foundation, the not-for-profit arm of the organisation. To learn more about CEDR's Foundation activities, contact Frederick at fway@cedr.com.