University of Auckland: Auckland’s alternative dispute resolution juggernaut continues

Now in its second year, the competition gives students across the world an opportunity to hone their negotiation and communication skills in a global setting.

It was conceived by Syracuse University Advocacy Honour Society and Queens University of Belfast Alternative Dispute Resolution Society.

This is the first year the University of Auckland has taken part in the event which saw teams from 16 countries compete via Zoom across 15 time zones. The win comes on the back of the University’s recent success in winning the ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition for the fourth consecutive year.

Professor Penelope Mathew, Dean of Law says, “We are extremely proud of the team. They have done a superb job representing the University on the global stage.”

Students Heidi Bernard, Libby Gane, Kelsey Haub and David Lee negotiated agreements relating to a range of matters including international diplomacy, cross-border commercial disputes, and hosting an international sporting event.

All the team’s five rounds took place in the early hours of the morning. For the final head-to-head, the team rose at 2am to represent one of two fictional governments seeking to resolve an issue between their two nations regarding piracy at sea.


Every team member brought their own strengths to the table; watching these different strengths grow and complement each other throughout the competition was an incredible experience.
Kelsey Haub
Auckland law student and winning team member
Many aspects of their performance earned commendation from the judges, with special mention of the team’s “Sherlock Holmes” negotiating style — asking the right questions, at the right time, to build a complete picture of the negotiation.

Team member Kelsey Haub says competing taught her the true value of having a diverse team with varied life experiences and backgrounds to draw from.

“Every team member brought their own strengths to the table; watching these different strengths grow and complement each other throughout the competition was an incredible experience.”

Faculty liaison, Ana Lenard, says having a good understanding of dispute resolution theory and practice is critical for being a good lawyer or having a successful career in any industry.

“We are delighted to offer a programme in which students begin developing these skills at law school.”

Former ICC competitors and current students, Bronwyn Wilde and Andrew O’Malley Shand, coached the team to their impressive victory.

The coaches would like to thank the Law Faculty for their administrative support; the ICC community for assisting with the team’s training and faculty liaison, Ana Lenard, for her mentorship and support.

The Faculty of Law acknowledges the generosity of a law alumnus who made it possible for the team to participate in this international competition.

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