Author Archives: Conflict Managers of Tomorrow Project

Mediation, conciliation, negotiation, and more: Giustizia Consensuale 1/2022 is out now!

The first issue of 2022 of Giustizia Consensuale (published by Editoriale Scientifica) has just been released and it features:

Andrea Simoncini (Professor at the University of Florence) and Elia Cremona (PhD, University of Siena),  Mediazione e Costituzione (Mediation and Constitution; in Italian)

This paper deals with the issue of the constitutional basis of mediation. After describing the current dominant view which sees mediation as merely a ‘means’ to an end, such as reducing the judicial backlog, and as a complementary tool to in-court proceedings, the authors argue that mediation could be considered as a constitutional ‘end’ in itself. Thus, by promoting the attainment of a more cohesive society, mediation is seen as a way to fulfill the social solidarity obligations as enshrined in the Italian Constitution.

Claudio Cecchella (Professor at the University of Pisa), La negoziazione assistita nelle controversie sulla crisi delle relazioni familiari dopo la riforma con legge n. 206 del 2021 (Lawyer-assisted Negotiation Procedure in Family Disputes Following the Law No. 206 of 2021; in Italian)

This paper analyses the provisions of Law No. 206 of 2021 concerning the negotiation process assisted by attorneys in family disputes. The author firstly examines the provisions which entered into force on 22 June 2022, such as the extension of the scope of application of this negotiation process. Secondly, he explores the provisions that will enter into force at a later date, such as the possibility of agreeing a lump-sum maintenance payment, the provision of legal aid and the right to take evidence during negotiations. While praising this reform, the author strongly criticizes it for not having provided for the minor’s right to be represented and heard during the negotiation process.

Juan F. Herrero (Professor at the University of Zaragoza), Accordarsi o soccombere (Reaching an Agreement or Losing the Case; in Italian)

Settlement rates are still relatively low compared to the percentage of cases that go to trial. Against this backdrop, the Spanish legislator has committed to reversing the trend. After some early efforts that were in vain, the legislator resorted to two instruments: the mandatory mediation attempt as a prerequisite to instituting judicial proceedings (as an alternative to mediation, parties may opt for other extrajudicial dispute resolution methods), and a new scheme for the allocation of judicial costs.
The paper investigates correlations between judicial decisions on cost allocation and mandatory or voluntary extrajudicial settlement attempts. Furthermore, it examines the impact of the aforementioned attempts on the determination of judicial costs, with a special focus on relevant case law. Oftentimes, the risk or likelihood of obtaining an unfavorable – or only partially favorable – decision on the allocation of costs prompts the parties to reach an out-of-court settlement. In fact, if it is not the case, the winning party to litigation stands to lose more than they would gain financially.

Stefania Brun (Professor at the University of Trento), ‘Proceduralizzazione’ dei poteri datoriali e mediazione sindacale. Il laboratorio trentennale in materia di licenziamenti collettivi (Trade Union Mediation in Collective Dismissal. A Study of its Application over Three Decades; in Italian)

This article reviews the three-decade history and present-day application of Law No. 223 of 1991 on collective dismissal. While providing an overall positive evaluation of this law, the article seeks to examine the role of the judicial and legislative branches in promoting best practices in its application. In this regard, it emphasizes the role of trade union mediation in the phase preceding collective dismissal as an effective means for reducing judicial scrutiny and ensure greater legal certainty.

Antonio Cassatella (Professor at the University of Trento), Il procedimento amministrativo come strumento di giustizia consensuale. Potenzialità e limiti (Administrative Procedure as A Means to Reach Consensual Justice. Strengths and Limitations; in Italian)

This paper focuses on settlements reached by an individual and the public administration in the course of an administrative procedure as governed by Law No. 241 of 1990.
According to the author, these types of settlement are only possible if the administrative procedure is not seen as a unilateral exercise of the public administration’s power, but rather as a way of settling disputes between the administration and citizens. The author argues that from a theoretical point of view, the administrative procedure can be considered an alternative dispute resolution mechanism. However, Art. 11 of the aforementioned law cannot be considered an effective legal basis for settlement between an individual and the public administration due to its intrinsic limitations.
Therefore, the author proposes that the Italian legislator reforms Law No. 241 of 1990 taking as a model the German and French legislations.


Observatory on Legislation and Regulations

Lorenzo Bianchi (PhD, University of Parma), La conciliazione giudiziale tributaria. Criticità applicative e prospettive di riforma (Judicial Conciliation in Tax Disputes. Inherent Limits and Reform Proposals; in Italian)

This paper analyzes the mechanism of judicial conciliation in tax disputes and its relationship with out-of-court dispute resolution tools. The author examines the historical evolution of judicial conciliation and its current regulation. While exploring the main characteristics of tax disputes, particular attention is given to the inherent limits on reaching an agreement between the parties to litigation and the judicial power to promote settlement. In conclusion, the analysis focuses on the recent Italian reform proposals of the judicial proceedings regarding tax disputes and conciliation mechanisms as incentivized by the Next Generation EU plan.


Observatory on Practices

Dilyara Nigmatullina (Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Antwerp) and Ruohan Zhu (Project manager at the Shanghai Arbitration Commission), A Study on the Use of Mediation in Combination with Arbitration. The Experience of East Asia with Focus on Mainland China

The article analyses the results of an empirical study about the current use of mediation in combination with arbitration (combinations) in international commercial dispute resolution. This study follows up the original study conducted by one of the article’s authors in 2014-2015, the results of which suggested the existence of a link between the practitioners’ legal culture and their use of a combination where the same neutral acts as a mediator and an arbitrator. The follow-up study further tests the hypothesis about the existence of the mentioned link by involving practitioners based in the East Asia region, predominantly in mainland China, while those taking part in the original questionnaire practiced in Continental Europe and common law jurisdictions in the Asia Pacific region. The article discusses the results of the follow-up study in the context of the findings of the original study before concluding that these results provide further support to the hypothesis that the use of a combination where the same neutral acts as a mediator and an arbitrator varies throughout the world and can be linked to the practitioners’ legal culture.

Francesca Valastro (Case Manger, Milan Chamber of Arbitration), La mediazione in videoconferenza. Dalla situazione emergenziale agli orizzonti futuri. Dati e note a margine di un’indagine empirica (Online Mediation: From Necessity to the Norm. An Empirical Study; in Italian)

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020 impacted the way mediations in civil and commercial matters were conducted, transforming online mediation into an absolute necessity.
Two years on, the world has changed and in this post-Covid time, it would be advisable to assess how the pandemic has affected the practice of mediation. Will mediation return to be conducted face to face or will online mediation be the future?
This article presents the results of the empirical research collected through interviews with fifty attorneys assisting clients in mediation and fifty professional mediators of the Mediation Service at Milan Chamber of Arbitration. Based on the analysis of their responses, the author argues that online mediation will have a pivotal role in the post pandemic world. However, further research and analysis is still necessary to develop best practices and guidelines for effectively managing mediation remotely.

In addition to the foregoing, this issue features the following book review by Giuseppe Buffone (Judge, Justice and Home Affairs Counsellor, Permanent Representation of Italy to the European Union, Brussels): Maria Martello,Una giustizia alta e altra. La mediazione nella nostra vita e nei tribunali (Mediation in Our Courts and in Our Daily Lives. An Empowering Alternative), Roma, Paoline Editoriale Libri, 2022, 1-160.

CMT Mediation Team Earns Honorable Mention at Italian Mediation Competition

From 7 to 10 July, the Italian Mediation Team participated in the 10th Italian Mediation Competition organized by the Milan Chamber of Arbitration.

Students Riccardo Martignon, Martina Mastrilli, Angela Noschese, and Roberta Scarabotto gave proof of their outstanding skills in pursuing their interests at the mediation table, which earned them a honorable mention.

Students were coached by Attorney Maurizio Di Rocco and Dr. Lorenzo Zoppellari, and mentored by CMT alumna Dr. Francesca Valastro. 

CMT International Mediation Team: Takeaways from the 17th ICC Competition and Beyond

Top left to bottom right, coaches Luca De Rosa and Milena Mottola, and traveling team members Sebastiano Belfi, Sofia Caruso, Angela Permunian, Jakob Kathrein.

Students Sebastiano Belfi, Sofia Caruso, Jakob Kathrein, and Angela Permunian, coached by alumni Luca De Rosa and Milena Mottola, participated in the 17th edition of the ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition and were awarded the Distinction in Creative Solution Generation.

The Competition, organized by the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, took place online from 7 to 15 February. 47 university teams from 33 countries engaged in several rounds of mock mediations and received feedback from renowned international ADR practitioners. 

The University of New South Wales (Australia), the University of Auckland (New Zealand), and two Brazilian teams from the University of São Paulo and Pontifical Catholic University of Rio gained access to the final rounds, where the University of Auckland took the win over the University of São Paulo.

During the months prior to the Competition, students at Università degli Studi di Trento trained under the guidance of their coaches, assisted by Conflict Managers of Tomorrow (CMT) alumna Silvia Pizzo and non-traveling team member Alice Catalano.

Although not part of the competing team, Alice actively participated in the training sessions and contributed to the group effort that earned Università degli Studi di Trento the Distinction in Creative Solution Generation.

Conflict managers of tomorrow is one of the highlights of my university studies because it provided me with a new point of view about conflicts, underlying the importance of creative solutions and the central role of mediation. It also gave me the opportunity to learn from extremely prepared coaches and work with brilliant colleagues, from whom I understood the importance of team-work.

Alice Catalano (team member)

This accomplishment adds to the list of remarkable results achieved by Università degli Studi di Trento at national and international ADR competitions. Thanks to peer-teaching and feedback-based learning methods, the training within the Conflict Managers of Tomorrow project has proven particularly effective in equipping students with conflict resolution skills and preparing them to navigate a variety of contexts.

Coaching students was an absorbing yet immensely rewarding and enjoyable experience. The training is not only about getting acquainted with mediation techniques. It is an (unfortunately) rare opportunity for law students to hone oral advocacy skills and learn to project self-esteem. 

Milena Mottola (team coach)

Given the digital format of the Competition, the training at Università degli Studi di Trento was specifically designed to reflect the format of the event. Although training online was undoubtedly challenging for students, the team effectively tackled the issues related to technology and digital environments before and during the Competition.

I had hard times accepting the fact that the Competition would be held entirely online. Nevertheless, the experience proved to be very instructive: not only did it allow me to acquire solid mediation skills, but it also showed me how to properly use technology to effectively communicate with people based in very different and distant parts of the world.
On the one hand, modern technology is a blessing as it enables us to participate in events like the ICC Mediation Competition even during a pandemic; on the other hand, however, technology may also cause some inconveniences. During one of our mediation sessions, for example, we encountered several tech-related challenges. Thanks to our preparation, my teammate and I were able to overcome all hurdles and adapt our strategy to the new circumstances. I believe these soft skills of ours will prove extremely useful throughout our careers as lawyers of the 21st century.

Jakob Kathrein (team member)

Due to the pandemic, we had no option but to learn how to manage mediation via videoconference. From the beginning of our training, we used online videoconferencing platforms to get familiar with such applications, learn how to deal with tech-related issues, and effectively communicate online. Without a doubt, this was an important set of skills to acquire: videoconferencing applications and tools are being increasingly used in dispute resolution and this requires abilities that are very different from the ones needed for in-person interaction. 

Sebastiano Belfi (team member)

Throughout the training, students participated in several mock mediations, engaged in self-reflection, and received feedback from their peers and coaches. As they progressed through their preparation and the rounds of the Competition, students developed a deeper understanding of mediation and acquired a solid set of practical skills in the field.

The ICC competition and preparatory training have been valuable opportunities to put our theoretical knowledge of mediation techniques into practice. We had to understand when to be assertive or compromise, how to convey our interests to develop solutions for mutual gain, … all this while always actively listening to the other party. At the end of each session, we would share our feedback with our coaches, which made the training and the competition itself unique learning experiences.

Sofia Caruso (team member)

The possibility to put their skills to test in an international competition greatly enriched the team’s experience. Students were exposed to the complexity of multicultural environments, which called for the application of effective communication and interpersonal skills.

Thanks to this incredible opportunity, we had the chance to boost our communication skills and interact with participants from various geographical area and cultural backgrounds. This, of course, proved rather challenging. Due to differences in communicative codes and national accents, it was not always easy to understand one another (all the more so in a virtual environment!), but in the end we all managed to overcome such hurdles and have smooth mediation sessions. Moreover, it was interesting to connect and discuss with other participants and learn how approaches to mediation and legal education vary from country to country.
Overall it was a truly enriching experience and, on a personal note, the best way to conclude my path at the Università degli Studi di Trento.

Angela Permunian (team member)
Top left to bottom right, Prof. Silvana Dalla Bontà (CMT Project Coordinator), Jakob Kathrein (team member), Milena Mottola (team coach), Angela Permunian (team member), Rachele Beretta (CMT staff), Sofia Caruso (team member), Sebastiano Belfi (team member), and Luca De Rosa (team coach)

Coaches are extremely proud of the progress students made throughout the training and the Competition.

Thanks to the work and dedication of CMT staff, alumni, and students themselves, students were able to gain hands-on experience in online mediation and develop skills that will prove invaluable in their future career. In spite of the challenges sometimes posed by online environments, the team constantly progressed throughout the rounds of the Competition and made the most out of the experience. As a coach, I am grateful for the opportunities I had to work with the team and facilitate the educational path of such a talented group of students. 

Luca De Rosa (team coach)

In congratulating the team for the results achieved, Prof. Silvana Dalla Bontà (CMT Project Coordinator) expressed her satisfaction with the development of the Conflict Managers of Tomorrow project throughout the years.

Giustizia Consensuale: discover issue 2/2021

The second issue of the journal Giustizia Consensuale, directed by Prof. Silvana Dalla Bontà and Prof. Paola Lucarelli, has been released.

The issue features contributions in Italian and English and covers a wide range of topics, including – but not limited to – ADR, ODR, and mediation from a comparative perspective.

Visit the website of Editoriale Scientifica (publisher) to view the index and purchase subscriptions.

Read more about the second issue of Giustizia Consensuale on Conflict of Laws. net.

Italian Mediation Competition: UniTN Team Earns Special Award

Top-left to bottom-right: students Camilla Rinaldi, Francesca Valastro, Alberto Rocco, Riccardo Masaro, Prof. Silvana Dalla Bontà, and student Giorgia Kumada.

Students Giorgia Kumada, Riccardo Masaro, Camilla Rinaldi, Alberto Rocco, and Francesca Valastro, coached by Prof. Silvana Dalla Bontà, Mr. Maurizio di Rocco, and Mr. Lorenzo Zoppellari, participated in the 9th edition of the Italian Mediation Competition.

The event, organized by Camera Arbitrale di Milano, took place online from 14 to 16 October, 2021 and involved student teams from 14 Italian universities. Università degli Studi di Torino ranked first.

Università degli Studi di Trento added to its long history of achievements at the Italian Mediation Competition by earning the special award for “Best Use of Active Listening Tools”. Coaches and team members are thrilled about the result and extremely satisfied with their performance.

Giustizia Consensuale: the law journal on consensual justice

The first issue of the biannual journal Giustizia consensuale, directed by Prof. Silvana Dalla Bontà and Prof. Paola Lucarelli, has been released.

The journal features contributions in Italian and English and touches upon a wide range of issues, including – but not limited to – conflict management, the meaning of justice, and the challenges of globalization and technology in cross-border disputes.

For more information about pricing and subscriptions, please visit the website of Editoriale Scientifica (publisher).

Call for Applications: Mediation Teams

The Conflict Managers of Tomorrow Project is calling for applications of students to join the Italian Mediation Team and the International Mediation Team.

Selected students will join the Conflict Managers of Tomorrow Project, receive practical training in mediation, and get the opportunity to gain hands-on experience by participating either in the Italian Mediation Competition or in the ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition.*

Read more about the application process and selection criteria on the Faculty website.

Deadline for application submission: June 27, 2021.



* Participation in the ICC International Mediation Competition is conditioned upon Università degli Studi di Trento being invited to participate in the event.

“Le Parti in Mediazione” reviewed by Rebecca Attree

International mediator and solicitor Rebecca Attree reviewed “Le Parti in Mediazione: Strumenti e Tecniche. Dall’Esperienza Pratica alla Costruzione di un Metodo”, the first e-book by the Conflict Managers of Tomorrow team.

We feel extremely honored and humbled to have received this review, which we are delighted to share:

I have had the pleasure of collaborating with the Faculty at the University of Law in Trento and in particular the innovative Conflict Managers of Tomorrow Project, pioneered by Prof. Silvana Dalla Bontà. As part of this collaboration I have had the pleasure to read this publication. It is written in both Italian and English as it is the result of the project’s long experience in training and coaching students in both languages.

It is a very thorough, detailed and clear analysis of conflict resolution, particularly aimed at students attending mediation competitions. It should be essential reading for any team thinking or preparing to compete. It actually should have a broader audience and has much to inform anyone involved in conflict analysis and dispute resolution, whether lawyers, mediators or parties in dispute. 

The publication adopts a practical approach, with contributions from both academics and practitioners. Great store is placed on preparation, both on the part of the lawyers and the parties. This is the case for any real- life mediation. As an author of a role play case study for the ICC used in a semi-final at the competition I found the incisive advice as to how a student should read, analyse, dissect and work through a role play invaluable for anyone preparing for a mediation competition, or indeed planning to engage in mediation. Advice on how to engage with the mediator is illuminating – many mediation advocates would be well served to read this. The advice is given in the context of the ICC competition where parties are encouraged to remain in a plenary session and opportunities for caucuses are limited by the rules. This makes it more pertinent to those reading from jurisdictions where joint sessions are the norm (such as Germany) rather than say the UK and US where for commercial mediations private caucuses are very prevalent.

In addition to the varied topics covered there are comprehensive bibliographies at the end of each chapter which provide excellent springboards for those wanting to research further. The authors have consulted many of the great works on the subject across the globe in a variety of languages and incorporated concepts from different jurisdictions. This makes the work truly international. 

Aspects of cross -cultural communication and psychology are also considered and dealt with sensitively and from a global rather than Italian perspective. A useful addition if the publication were to go to a second edition would be a full chapter dedicated to the psychology of conflict, as this forms an important part in negotiation and mediation. A further future addition would be a chapter on online mediation, given that the 16th competition held in 2021 was entirely online. But, of course, it takes time for publications to keep up to date with changes to practice due to world events such as a pandemic.

The inclusion of a real- life experience from a participant at the ICC Mediation competition is invaluable and encouraging. In common with most skills training, the importance of practice and having a “can do” attitude is emphasised. As a judge myself at the competition, I was heartened to read how valuable the feedback from the judges to the teams was and how much the participant felt they improved during the competition as a result of this and the “hands on” practice they gained. 

As the old Chinese proverb says, ‘Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.’  The practical approach to teaching conflict resolution at the University of Trento is exemplified by its enthusiasm for its students to participate in mediation competitions. Further the creation of this excellent publication that serves as a textbook to assist those students in this experience is laudable. Prof. Silvana Dalla Bontà and her colleagues are doing excellent work in developing Conflict Managers of Tomorrow, people we are likely to need increasingly, and who cannot be replaced by AI and the many other technological developments we are seeing in the world.  

Congratulations to the team from the Faculty of Law, University of Trento, Italy, for winning the Special Award for Best Creative Solution Generation at the 16th ICC Mediation Competition in February 2021.

Rebecca Attree M.A. (Cantab) International Mediator and Solicitor, London 2021
Visiting Lecturer at faculty of Law, University of Trento, Italy.