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EXPERT AVAILABLE: International Commercial Mediation Could Save Businesses Millions in Money, Time

Dec. 04, 2014

Story Contact(s):
Nathan Hurst, hurstn@missouri.edu, 573-882-6217

The views and opinions expressed in this “for expert comment” release are based on research and/or opinions of the researcher(s) and/or faculty member(s) and do not reflect the University’s official stance.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – A new study by a University of Missouri law expert has found a strong interest in international mediation as a cheaper and faster method of international commercial dispute resolution.

S.I. Strong, an associate professor of law at the MU School of Law and a senior fellow at the MU Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution, gathered the information to assist the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) as it considers a proposal from the United States government regarding a possible treaty in international commercial mediation and conciliation. The U.S. proposal will be considered in depth in early 2015, with a report expected by July.  Strong’s report has been cited in preliminary papers published by the UNCITRAL Secretariat. The proposed treaty is intended to help facilitate mediation in the international commercial context.

“Currently, international businesses prefer to avoid resolving commercial disputes in national courts, since that is typically a long, complicated and expensive process,” Strong said. “The treaty proposed by the U.S. Department of State would support the use of mediation or conciliation as a means of resolving these types of matters.”

In mediation and conciliation, the disputing parties resolve their differences with the assistance of an impartial third party.  Strong says proponents of mediation believe that it helps resolve commercial disputes more quickly and efficiently than litigation, thus saving businesses a significant amount of time and money.

“Globalization has not only increased the amount of business that is conducted across borders, it has also increased the number of international legal disputes that arise every year,” said Strong.  “Although mediation may not be appropriate in all cases, many corporate leaders believe that it is better to reach a friendly settlement than to risk everything by going to court.  The proposed convention would not require parties to use mediation but would make it easier for those companies who want to settle their international legal disputes to do so effectively.”

Strong’s preliminary report can be found here. The final results will be made available sometime next year.

S.I. Strong is currently an associate professor of law at the MU School of Law and a senior fellow in the MU Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution. Professor Strong also has taught at the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the faculty at MU, Professor Strong worked as a dual-qualified practitioner (U.S.-U.K.) in the New York and London offices of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and as Counsel at Baker & McKenzie LLP in Chicago.  Professor Strong has published more than 90 books, articles and other works on international dispute resolution in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

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