Three students from the University of Aberdeen School of Law’s Diploma in Professional Legal Practice (DPLP) programme, Jenna Baxter, Kym Haley and Alannah Comerford, participated as mediators in the 2022 United Kingdom Student Mediation Competition (UKSMC).
The UKSMC is a mediation competition that brings together student mediators from different law schools across the UK. The competition affords students the opportunity to better understand mediation as an effective alternative dispute resolution method as well as practice and improve on their mediation skills. This year’s competition was hosted by the Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) and had participating universities from England, Scotland, Wales and Norther Ireland.
The UKSMC is one of three law competitions that the DPLP students participate in and are some of the avenues through which our students sharpen their legal skills as well as develop lasting professional networks. For the UKSMC, the students underwent a month-long intensive training. Their training by Patrick Achor, involved both theoretical teaching as well as practical role-playing and this served them in good stead as they performed brilliantly and had an overall satisfying and enriching experience. The students, who were all excited, had this to say about their participation.
Jenna unequivocally asserts that:
“Having only briefly learnt about mediation during my undergraduate degree, I was interested to find out more when I signed up for the UKSMC. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, learning new skills as well as fully understanding the mediation process and being able to competently deliver the process during different mediation scenarios. The training undertaken prior to attending the competition was insightful and highly beneficial. During the competition, I met like-minded students from other universities who were all just as excited and nervous to compete in the competition. The competition and the experience as a whole was invaluable. I am very happy to have participated and thankful to the School of Law for the opportunity.”
Kym, who expressed similar sentiments, said:
“I found representing the University at the UKSMC to be an incredibly valuable and rewarding experience. Having no practical mediation experience prior to training for the event, it was of great personal benefit to learn new skills in respect of mediation. Putting these skills into practice, based on three different commercial dispute scenarios, with students from other universities as the disputants, was both challenging and fulfilling in the practical sense as it allowed me an insight into my effectiveness as a mediator based on a very realistic simulation of the process.
The feedback provided from the judges of the event was also very positive and helpful in providing me with an awareness of my strengths and weaknesses as a mediator. In addition, it was also exciting and highly beneficial to meet with and learn from our peers from other universities across the UK in observing their own different mediation styles. Thank you to all at the Law School involved in preparing us for the event, as well as for the opportunity to attend. If any future student is considering attending UKSMC, I would thoroughly recommend that you take the opportunity to do so!”
Alannah also emphasized that:
“I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in this year’s UKSMC and I am grateful to the School of Law for the opportunity. This was the University of Aberdeen, School of Law’s first time sending a team so we weren’t entirely sure what to expect but I am really glad I agreed to take part and represent the University of Aberdeen. Prior to the competition, I knew very little about mediation and what the process entailed. Through training and the competition, I now fully understand mediation and furthermore have the opportunity to work towards accreditation.”
It was indeed an impressive and fulfilling outing for the School and we look forward to equally interesting and enriching engagements by our DPLP students in the other law competitions slated for the remainder of the academic year.