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The art of negotiation

Law students Erin Ritchie and Georgia Di Salle take their negotiation and mediation skills to Vienna.

In a first for Deakin University, a team from Deakin Law School (DLS) will compete at an international competition that will showcase their skills in dispute resolution. 

Fifth-year Deakin law students Erin Ritchie and Georgia Di Salle have pooled their negotiation and mediation skills to be one of only two Australian university teams to compete at the Vienna International Arbitration Centre, Consensual Dispute Resolution Competition (IBA-VIAC CDRC).

Consensual Dispute Resolution (CDR) processes are marking a new era in international commercial disputes and this was the motivation behind the International Bar Association, the Vienna International Arbitral Centre and the European Law Student’s Association joining forces to establish a competition for law students.
Held between 17-20 July, the IBA-VIAC CDRC hosts 22 international teams which were selected by the International Bar Association.

It follows the success of the prestigious Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot which is held each year in Vienna and Hong Kong. In the Hong Kong round Erin took out an honourable mention for best speaker.

Last year, Erin and Georgia competed at the Australia Law Students' Association’s Australasia Negotiation Competition in Canberra where they blitzed their way to second place in the grand final.

Erin says they learned to work well as a team and quickly complemented each other’s negotiation styles.

‘We received feedback from the judges that we worked seamlessly together as a team. Competing with so many teams from different universities across Australia – as well across the Asia-Pacific region – meant that we were exposed to various negotiation tactics from other competitors. This gave us insight into how to handle different tactics and personalities within the negotiation room.’

The problem question for this year’s IBA-VIAC CDRC is drawn from the themes of the 2018 Vis Moot and revolves around the international sale of goods.

With a common set of facts known by all participants, and confidential information that’s only to the participants representing a particular side, the competition consists of a 90 minute session with three preliminary rounds before the finals.  The students will be evaluated by a team of skilled mediation and negotiation experts.

Erin and Georgia with coach, Professor Jeffrey Waincymer.

‘We’re excited to negotiate against law students from all over the world including India, Russia, Brazil, Singapore and the USA,’ says Georgia.

‘It’s Deakin University’s first time being represented in this competition and we hope this sets a precedent for future Deakin teams to get involved. We’re grateful for the support of DLS throughout the preparation, as well as the support and guidance we have received from our coach, Professor Jeffrey Waincymer.

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