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Competizione Trentina di Negoziato

Let’s Hear from the Participants!

The first-ever intramural negotiation competition at Università degli Studi di Trento took place on 2 December, 2022 in a hybrid online-offline format. 

Competizione Trentina di Negoziato (CTN) was organized by the Conflict Manager of Tomorrow Project (CMT) and provided students with an opportunity to test their negotiation skills while receiving feedback from peer- and expert evaluators.

Students negotiating in the moot court room at Università degli Studi di Trento.

Student negotiators were enthusiastic about the experience and enjoyed challenging themselves at the negotiation table.

The CTN was a great opportunity to test the knowledge acquired during the [negotiation] course. Having to show good command of negotiation theory, skills, and strategy through a competition rather than an exam was an excellent way to master the subject. Mock negotiations and feedback sessions throughout the course allowed us to build up to the Competition and feel comfortable at the negotiation table.

Federico Cadin, student

A unique and challenging opportunity that finally allowed me to experience negotiation first hand. In my opinion, universities should offer more applied courses. Without a doubt, theory is key but largely remains devoid of content if there is no chance to put it into practice.

Tania Zoanetti, student
Prof. Silvana Dalla Bontà, founder and coordinator of the CMT Project, greeting the participants.

Members of the International Mediation Team, who will participate in the upcoming ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition in Paris (February 2023), served as peer evaluators. 

The CTN was an important proving ground for the members of the International Mediation Team and a moment of self-reflection.

I am grateful for the chance to participate in the first edition of the CTN as a peer evaluator. Assessing the performance of fellow students was an enriching experience which gave us plenty of food for thought and the opportunity to engage in reflective practice. I believe that this experience will prove crucial in the preparation for the ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition. The feedback conversations with professional evaluators were an opportunity of personal growth. I am proud and honored to be part of the CMT Project.

Alice Catalano, peer evaluator

The first edition of the CTN was an unforgettable learning experience. Not only was it an opportunity for the participating students, who put their negotiation skills to test for the first time, but also for the peer evaluators, who delivered feedback for the first time. I am looking forward to applying what I learned at the CTN and I am extremely proud to be a part of the CMT Project.

Elisa Ferretto, peer evaluator

Without a doubt, participating in the first edition of the CTN was an opportunity for reflection and professional development. Being a peer evaluator requires attention to detail, sense of duty, and critical thinking. Participating in the CTN made me appreciate the preparation for the ICC Competition even more. During my previous mock negotiations, I hardly received comments so pointed and feedback so constructive. The comments and feedback obtained throughout the preparation for the ICC Competition helped me in my role as a peer evaluator. I am thankful to Prof. Dalla Bontà and all those contributing to the CMT Project.

Anna Pezzetta, peer evaluator

Taking part in the first edition of the CTN was an honor and a unique opportunity, as it gave me the chance to “go to the balcony” and reflect on my own negotiation style. Further, it helped me understand how verbal and nonverbal language are perceived from an external perspective. To that end, playing the role of a peer evaluator was fundamental for me. Not only does it require greater focus and attention to the dynamics of the negotiation but it also entails responsibilities. At the end of the evaluation, in fact, your own opinion must be weighed against the opinion of other evaluators. All this allows reflecting on the negotiation in a deeper and more accurate way. I am proud of having participated in the first edition of the CTN and I thank Prof. Dalla Bontà and the CMT Project staff for this opportunity.

Andrea Dongili, peer evaluator
Members of the International Mediation Team observing the mock negotiation.

Students and peer evaluators could benefit from the expert guidance of professional mediators and course instructors at Università degli Studi di Trento, who welcomed the initiative and actively contributed to the success of the CTN.

I am glad and proud that the CTN has been added to the educational offer of the CMT Project as it will provide another valuable learning experience for students at Università degli Studi di Trento. Thanks to the CTN, students will be able to experience negotiation first-hand and benefit from a valuable opportunity to prepare for national and international moots. The first edition was a real success and all those involved can call themselves winners!

Corrado Mora, alumnus Università degli Studi di Trento – civil and commercial mediator

Thanks to Prof. Dalla Bontà’s vision and hard work, the CMT Project can now offer one more learning experience to students. Serving as an assessor was a challenging task: I tried to give students some practical tips and food for thought, in the hope it will foster their professional development. Discussing with expert colleagues proved to be a stimulating and enriching experience for me.

Federica Simonelli, alumna Università degli Studi di Trento – civil and commercial mediator
Expert evaluator Maurizio di Rocco, civil and commercial mediator and course instructor at Università degli Studi di Trento, delivering feedback to the participants.

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. 

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.

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.