My name is Chris Mills I am a solicitor and mediator https://www.linkedin.com/in/chris-mills-mediation/ currently part way through writing my Sports Law & Practice Masters dissertation ‘Access to Justice: Mediation in Grassroots Sport’ I have included my dissertation Preface for context.
My reason for choosing this area for my dissertation is linked to my professional and sporting interests. I was initially accredited as a mediator in the late 1990s and have seen and believe in the benefits of mediation to resolve disputes. I have always included mediation dispute resolution clauses in all contractual documents I have drafted. My experience covers the Country Courts, High Court, Court of Appeal through to the Court of Justice of the European Union, having won and lost, given evidence in both civil and criminal cases, my experiences have convinced me there is a better way to resolve disputes. Furthermore, my sporting interest comes from playing many sports and latterly coaching grassroots Rugby. My experiences of club membership and their inability to resolve member disputes satisfactorily, only reinforced my view that clubs would benefit from having a more suitable dispute resolution process, rather than relying on a complaint process which had been put together on the spare of the moment or being exposed to a disciplinary process to manage conflict, which probably is wholly inappropriate. This has led me to research the benefits of a more suitable solution in mediation; which is available in some sports at elite level. Mediation in grassroots sport, is a solution which could benefit clubs, members, players and parents alike.
My request - I am not carrying out any empirical research, my enquiry is more anecdotal. I am interested in experiences and views on all sports. I know of one on-the-field-of-play incident which was life changing, where the parties eventually participated in mediation, but only when sign-posted by their sport’s governing body, sadly whilst the matter was resolved, the agreed compensation was eaten up by lawyers’ fees – the outcome may have been different, if the parties’ initial direction was towards mediation at local club level.
I will treat all replies in confidence, seeking direct authority if I thought an experience would be helpful to use, but always anonymising the situation.
Thank you in advance.