(3 October 2017)
Ms. Wendy Lui is an Accredited Mediator of the Hong Kong Mediation Accreditation Association Limited. She obtained her law degree from the University of London, then her LLM in Arbitration and Dispute Resolution from the City University of Hong Kong with Distinction. She has more than 10 years of experience in the Higher Education sector, and is now a Lecturer in Law in the Hong Kong Shue Yan University.
We have interviewed Wendy to discuss how the Interdisciplinary Development Scheme (IDS) Project can support the research in the area of “mediation, negotiation and persuasion”, which is one of the three core research themes of the IDS Project.
What is the most challenging difficulty in approaching the studies and skills of negotiation / persuasion / mediation using the perspectives and methodologies of another discipline of study?
From her experience in Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Wendy said that one of the challenges that professional mediators has to face is to admit that the study in mediation and negotiation is interdisciplinary in nature, meaning that they have to step out from their specialized profession and venture into other study areas, such as psychology and neuroscience. In her view, professionals who want to better practise mediation and negotiation should equip themselves with skills in a more interdisciplinary manner: lawyers might want to learn skills used in counselling and psychotherapy, so as doctors and social workers who might want to learn more about law.
Why do many businesses adopt Mediation as the alternative method of conflicts resolutions? Can this benefit be reflected in the applications of Mediation in other fields/disciplines?
One reason that companies adopt mediation as the approach in dealing with disputes is the high costs in litigation, and the pressure and time needed in court proceedings. ADR methods are highly applicable in many fields. For instance, in the construction industry, there is a need on quick decision-making in its highly complex process. A dispute that remains unresolved would mean consequential cascading delay. So it is common to have a dispute resolution clause in the contractual stage, and the appointment of dispute resolution adviser to handle the work. Wendy said that the same benefit can be seen in cases concerning building management, insurance and general commercial disputes when cost-benefit is taken into account.
How can we develop the method of negotiation and mediation which is based on the study of brain mechanism of human subjects? Can Shue Yan IDS project help in this regard?
This is a new area of study to be explored into. Brain-related researches on a mediator’s narratives and postures in effecting some neuro-reactions could be one of the many possible themes that Wendy suggested. The IDS project helps not only in the installation of suitable equipment for this purpose, but more importantly it helps lining up researchers of different disciplines to work together towards the goal.