On January 8th and 9th, 2011, an academic conference “Theory and Practice of Mediation in Grass-root Level in the New Era” was held by Shantou University Law School in ACC. In the opening ceremony in the morning of January 8th, Vice President of Shantou University Wang Lianwei and deputy dean of Shantou University Law School, Michael Palmer, gave welcoming remarks. Mr. Jiang Huiling, Vice Director of the Supreme People’s Court Judicial Reform Office, Mr. Yin Zhuping, chief of the Judicial Bureau Grass-root Division, and Mr. Qi Shujie, professor of Xiamen University Law School delivered their guest speeches. Guests invited to the opening ceremony also included the representatives from Shantou Intermediate People’s Court, Shantou Bureau of Justice, and Shantou Arbitration Commission.
Participants of this conference, around 50 people in all, included Chinese mainland researchers from law, sociology, politics, management and other disciplines, and practitioners in courts and judicial administration departments. The conference also invited many foreign experts from Hong Kong University and Chinese University of Hong Kong. The conference presentations included more than 40 papers covering topics such as judicial mediation, people’s mediation, combination of litigation and mediation, multiparty mediation and administrative mediation.
In his speech, Professor Michael Palmer said that implementation of People’s Mediation Law on January 1st, 2011 had the potential to enhance the system of grass-root dispute resolution theory, reforming Chinese traditional dispute resolution, and promoting the policy of constructing harmonious society. It might also be able to help judges handle cases better, and improve the community mediation, making it easy to use and effective. It also encourages citizen participation in mediation.
Vice Director of the Supreme People’s Court Judicial Reform Office, Mr. Jiang Huiling, explored relevant areas of legislation, policy, judicial reform, academic research and mediation practice. He said it was not only appropriate but also significant to hold such a conference on the theory and practice of grass-root mediation at this point in time.
Participants in the Conference discussed developments in grass-roots mediation over the past decade looking in particular at implementation of the People’s Mediation Law and the situation at three levels (counties-village districts-villages), and at the centers of “comprehensive treatment of petitions and stabilizations” in Guangdong Province.
In recent years, research on alternative dispute resolution has been a prioritized discipline in Shantou University Law School and its Cheung Kong Centre for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution (CKND), and Local Government Development Research Centre (LGDRC). Alternative Dispute Resolution is one of the specialties provided in the Law School Masters of Public Management and it is also included in the undergraduate curricula of the Law School. The Law School established Cheung Kong Center of Negotiation and Dispute Resolution, specializing in the promotion and development of alternative dispute resolution, in 2004. Its current Director is Dean & Professor Michael Palmer, co-author of Dispute Processes: ADR and the Primary Forms of Decision Making, 2005 (Chinese-language version: 纠纷解决的过程 — ADR 与决定形成的主要形式，北京大学出版社，2011).