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Undergraduate ADR Essay Writing Competition


The Judicial/ADR Liaison Committee has facilitated this Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) essay writing competition to allow undergraduates who are interested in pursuing a career in ADR to gain valuable experience with some of the leading organisations in the sector.


The winning entrant will choose first from the following ADR Experience Placements, with the runner-up having second choice and so on.

The ADR Placements are:

Brick Court Chambers

Bill Wood QC is delighted to offer an observership at a commercial mediation taking place in London. The observer will discuss the case with Bill in advance, read the case materials, and accompany Bill on the day of the mediation in the discussions with the parties and any joint sessions that take place. The observer will have a chance to discuss the day’s developments and challenges with Bill. If agreement in principle is reached they will be able to work with Bill in 'putting the agreement to bed'. The observer will have to undertake a duty of confidentiality in relation to their involvement and their participation is subject to the express agreement of the parties to the mediation (usually readily forthcoming). If the meetings takes place remotely then the observer will participate online in the same way and have the same opportunities for private discussion with Bill.

Civil Mediation Council (CMC)

The CMC is pleased to offer to one of those placed 1st-4th in Judicial/ADR Liaison Committee’s facilitated Essay Writing Competition 2022, two days observation of a commercial mediator in action. You will spend two separate days shadowing two different CMC accredited mediators as they work to resolve a commercial dispute. This will give you a real insight into how a mediation works, an opportunity to see different mediation styles in action and give you the chance to ask and learn from two leading commercial mediators. Mediations take place around the UK so there is flexibility in location and date.

Dispute Resolution Ombudsman (DRO)

We are delighted to offer one of the winners a placement of 1-week duration. Our placements are sought after by those considering a career in Alternative Dispute Resolution and will typically include the following activities:

Initial training and orientation providing insights into the role of an Ombudsman

  • Shadowing an Ombudsman
  • Fundamentals of case management
  • Collating evidence for a case file
  • Drafting Adjudications and other documentation.

Clerksroom mediation

David Isbister of Clerksroom mediation is happy to offer an observation at one of his mediations. David tends to get selected for contentious trust, probate and TLATA disputes because of his background as a private client lawyer.

The observation will either be in-person or online (depending on the mediation and location). During the mediation David will take the observer through the mediation process, and will discuss the issues in dispute before it starts and its progress throughout the day, he will also answer any questions the observer may have.

We will inform all entrants of whether they have been successful or unsuccessful. Please note that we unfortunately do not have capacity to provide feedback on unsuccessful entries.

Winners are entitled to refer to the achievement on their CV.

Judging Panel

Kevin Grix, CEO and Chief Ombudsman at the Dispute Resolution Ombudsman

Kevin was appointed in 2008 and is responsible for directing the activities of the Ombudsman. He read law at university for 3 years and graduated with honours, prior to studying to be a Barrister in London at the Inns of Court School of Law. He was called to the Bar by the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, after successfully passing his Bar exams and is also professionally qualified by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb). In 2015 Kevin was appointed to the Executive of the Ombudsman Association, a body that advises government and helps to oversee the ombudsman and complaint handling landscape in the United Kingdom. In November 2018, Kevin was invited to join the Board of Trustees at Citizens Advice Stevenage.

Kevin also holds a position on the Advisory Board to the Independent Football Ombudsman, a scheme that was established by the football authorities (The Football Association, The Premier League, and The Football League) to receive and adjudicate on complaints which have not been resolved at an earlier stage. Kevin has a keen interest in consumer affairs and has appeared several times on television, radio and in the press to provide expert opinion on a range of issues that affect consumers. He has a specialist understanding of consumer law and has written and presented a series of accredited courses and seminars in this field.

Kevin and his colleague, Deputy Chief Ombudsman Judith Turner, are the co-authors of Volume 28 of Atkin's Court Forms and Precedents on Ombudsman schemes in England and Wales. Published by LexisNexis in 2020, it forms part of the UK’s only encyclopaedia of civil litigation forms, precedents and procedure and is a leading authority on the process that should be followed by complainants.

Rebecca Clark, Deputy Chair at the Civil Mediation Council

Rebecca Clark is the newly appointed volunteer Deputy Chair at the CMC. Based in Yorkshire, Rebecca is a full-time mediator with IPOS Mediation, specialising in commercial dispute resolution. Prior to becoming a mediator, Rebecca was Head of Litigation at the Government organisation set up to manage two former bad banks. Her novel approach to management and mediation in that role lead her to being awarded Legal Week’s Legal Counsel of the Year in 2013.

Essay Judging

  1. Essays may be subject to an initial evaluation by a suitably qualified team of Ombudsman or Mediators.
  2. Essays will be evaluated for:

(1) Evidence of original thought and creativity on the subject matter (40%);

(2) Analysis and reasoning (30%);

(3) Writing quality and clarity (20%);

(4) Compliance with the essay competition requirements (10%).


1. The competition is open to all undergraduate and graduate students who, at the time of entry, are enrolled full- or part-time at an accredited, degree-granting institution of higher education seeking an undergraduate or graduate degree.

2. Students may be enrolled in any discipline.

3. Students may be enrolled in any college or university based in the UK.

4. Papers written for courses are eligible, but all papers must be the original, unpublished work of an individual student.

5. Any form of plagiarism will result in automatic disqualification. The organiser’s determination in this respect is final.

6. Each student may submit only one essay.

7. Entries must be submitted by email, and entries are open from 9am on 10 January 2022 to 10pm on 21 April 2022. Late submissions will not be accepted.

Please note; the competition winners will be responsible for covering their own travel and accommodation expenses.


1. Essays should be no more than 1,500 words in length (+/-5%).

2. A complete bibliography should be included, if appropriate. The bibliography and/or footnotes will not count towards the word limit. The word limit must be included on the document.

3. Essays should be typed and double-spaced, in an easily readable font (such as Times New Roman), with 1” margins.

4. All pages must include the title of the essay and page numbers.

5. Submissions will be judged anonymously so please do not include any personally identifying information (name, university) in the essay document. Each submission will be provided with a unique reference number that can be linked to the Application Form submitted by the entrant, but which remains anonymous to the Judging Panel.

6. Entrants may complete the Application form by filling in the fields by hand/on a computer. The letters must be written block capitals. The form must be signed (either by hand/electronically) by entrants and supervisors.

7. Essays must be submitted in English.

To enter the competition;

Write a paper on the topic, The Impact of Covid-19 on the Development of ADR in the UK. The entry will be reviewed by a panel of Judges and ADR specialists who will choose the best three submissions.

Title: The Impact of Covid-19 on the Development of ADR in the UK.
: 10pm, 21st April 2022
Word Count:
1,500 words

Terms and Conditions

Submit all entries to: along with a signed copy of the Terms and Conditions

All winners will be notified on Friday 6th May.


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