Use and Perception of International Commercial Mediation and Conciliation: An Empirical Study

S.I. Strong, Associate Professor of Law and Senior Fellow, Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution at the University of Missouri School of Law, has published, “Use and Perception of International Commercial Mediation and Conciliation: An Empirical Study,” 21 Harvard Negotiation Law Review (2015), Forthcoming; University of Missouri School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2015-07. In her paper, Professor Strong examines empirical data collected about the use and perception of commercial mediation and conciliation in both the international business and legal arenas.

Here is the abstract:

This Article analyzes results from the first-ever large-scale international survey regarding the use and perception of international commercial mediation and conciliation by the international legal and business communities. This data was gathered to assist the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and UNCITRAL Working Group II (Arbitration and Conciliation) as they consider a proposal from the Government of the United States regarding a new international instrument this area of law.

Although the empirical research that is at the heart of this Article was generated to assist systemic reform as a matter of public international law, the material is also critically important to other groups and endeavors. For example, the analysis reflected herein not only tests various theoretical assumptions generated by scholars specializing in both domestic and international dispute resolution, it also provides parties and practitioners with hard empirical data that will assist them with decisions relating to individual dispute resolution procedures. Indeed, as the first empirical work of its type, this Article sets the standard for future studies and analyses.

The project was constructed with two goals in mind. First, the study attempts to discover and describe current behaviors and attitudes relating to international commercial mediation and conciliation. Although this analysis is largely descriptive in nature, it nevertheless provides parties, practitioners and participants in the UNCITRAL process with critical and never-before compiled data about how the world of international dispute resolution currently operates.

Second, the study seeks to determine whether the legal and business communities believe a new international instrument in this area of law would be useful and if so, what shape they think that document should take. This analysis, which focuses on normative concerns, provides unique insights into how the people who are most involved with international commercial mediation and conciliation believe the field should develop.

This article updates and expands upon material found in a preliminary report entitled “Use and Perception of International Commercial Mediation and Conciliation: A Preliminary Report on Issues Relating to the Proposed UNCITRAL Convention on International Commercial Mediation and Conciliation,” available at: That report was made available to delegates at the UNCITRAL Working Group II meeting in February 2015 and was cited by the UNCITRAL Secretariat and US Government in official papers.

This and other scholarly articles authored by Professor Strong may be downloaded free of charge from the Social Science Research Network.

By Beth Graham,
April, 2015


Connie Theron, Practising Attorney - UCT Law Clinic
“While working at the University of Stellenbosch Legal Aid Clinic and later at the UCT Law Clinic, I found the pro bono mediation services of Gerrie van der Watt of the Mediation Centre to be highly professional and extremely effective in our divorce matters. It is fantastic that our clients, with little or no financial means, can benefit from such an excellent programme.

The mediators are able to provide a non-threatening environment in which the clients are able to talk openly about issues that matter most to them, but which the Court in a divorce matter may choose not to entertain. Through the mediation sessions, the clients are able to reach an agreement together which ultimately they are both happy with. In cases where mediation did not yield the result of a settlement, the process was still extremely valuable, giving the parties better perspective and highlighting the key issues in dispute.”