IBA Annual Conference Sydney 2017

8 Oct - 13 Oct 2017

Room C3.6, Convention Centre, Level 3

Session information

Blame the brain: the science of dispute resolution
Room C3.6, Convention Centre, Level 3


Mediation Committee (Lead)
Arbitration Committee
Litigation Committee


‘No area of understanding is more relevant and important to mediation competency than a basic understanding of how the human brain functions, perceives events, processes emotional notions, cognitive response and formulates decisions. The awareness of cognitive neuroscience and psychology are at the heart of our work in managing conflict and problem solving.’ Robert Benjamin, 2009. Experienced mediators rely on instinct, intuition and experience to assist disputants and counsel with high-conflict personality and heightened emotions, over-confident case theories and assessments, deeply held beliefs and barriers to rational deals. Regardless of the outcome, it is difficult for practitioners to identify the precise microactions taken individually or collectively by the mediator(s), disputants and/or counsel that turns a mediation, and pinpoint exactly what worked and why. This session aims to explore the science behind the instincts, intuitions and experience of experienced mediators, and considers the latest research on how and why disputants and counsel behave the way they do at mediations. We survey the landscape of neuroscience and psychology behind mediators’ interventions that may turn an impasse into a successful outcome, and discuss how neuropsychology may help provide mediators and counsel with structures and tools to assist disputants.

Session / Workshop Chair(s)

Tat Lim Aequitas Law, Singapore, Singapore; Senior Vice Chair, Mediation Committee


Joao Afonso Assis Assis Advogados, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Laurence Boulle Independent Mediation Services, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Manuel Conthe CONTHE, Madrid, Spain
Paul R Gibson Gibson ADR, Other City, New South Wales, Australia
Anna Grishchenkova KIAP Attorneys at Law, Moscow, Russian Federation; Regional Representative Russian Federation, Litigation Committee
Professor Benjamin Hughes Fountain Court Chambers, Singapore, Singapore
Rachel King Mental Capital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Edna Sussman Sussman ADR LLC, Scarsdale, New York, USA