19 October 2016
A week-long programme to publicise mediation has ended disastrously and ironically with the chairman resigning amid claims of in-fighting and allegations that his partner was kicked and "treated like a whore".

The UK Mediation Awareness Week (UKMAW) ran from 8 to 14 October to promote the benefits of using mediation to resolve disputes. It ended with a mock mediation as the grande finale at the not-yet-renamed Savile Club. However the following day UKMAW's chairman Andrew Burr sent an extraordinary email to the founder Dave Owen vowing to contact the police because his partner was allegedly kicked and, he claims, sexually harassed. Burr also tendered his resignation from UKMAW, making scathing comments about the event itself and citing "downright toxic divisions" within the UK mediation community. 

Burr, a barrister and mediator, copied the email to dozens of people involved with UKMAW including solicitors from CMS Cameron McKenna, mediators and barristers, one of whom quite rightly saw fit to forward the rant to RollOnFriday. Enjoy.

     



In the open and frank style that mediation encourages, Owen replied at length, to everyone, clarifying that he had not recognised Burr's partner that evening "because her hair was so different because of her hair extensions". He said that he could not believe a staff member had kicked Burr's partner, noting that, "Indeed, [she] told me that she was concerned that [your partner] would vomit".

When RollOnFriday contacted Owen for a comment, he forwarded his response to Burr, copying in all of the original recipients and RollOnFriday. He said, "It would be a great shame" if RollOnFriday "were to come away with the conclusion that the subject matter of your e-mail is of more consequence than the great work that everyone put into MAW UK 2016" (too late). He also said, "I fail to understand why someone would want to forward your e-mail" to RollOnFriday (because it's gold, Dave), adding, "I presume that he/she will...identify herself/himself" (good luck).

Burr at the conference. Turns out they didn't need all those pens on the front row.
 


Irene accidentally captures the spirit of the event.
Tip Off ROF

Comments

Anonymous 21 Oct 16

My email was extremely carefully-considered and only written after my partner had calmed down from her distress at her outrageous treatment last Friday evening.
Mr Muppet

Anonymous 21 Oct 16

Well it has achieved one aim - I am now aware of mediation awareness week. I look forward to next year's conference when they use the savile club fight for a mock roleplay

Anonymous 21 Oct 16

I can exclusively reveal that next year's seminar will be jointly held with the Association of McKenzie Friends at Sunderland's exclusive Mugabe Rooms.

Anonymous 21 Oct 16

So if this goes to court the next headline could be: Mediation Awareness Week favours litigation rather over mediation.

Anonymous 21 Oct 16

This should be added to that Alanis Morissette's song - it's much more apt than 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife

Anonymous 21 Oct 16

We need to get to the bottom of this. Has Burr got a Thai bride/partner with hair extensions who used to be with the Thai army over whom he is being in a sexist fashion extremely overly protective and who drank too much? That is the impression being given from the email.

Anonymous 21 Oct 16

I thought Burr had added the word "destruction" as a sarcastic way to describe the event, but it seems that was the real name. Couldn't make this stuff up: http://www.mediationawarenessweek.org.uk/event/closing-event/

Anonymous 21 Oct 16

Heh anon @15.44. Bet they regret the prosecco buck's fizz mentioned in that schedule at the start

Anonymous 22 Oct 16

I like Burr's no-nonsense approach. Respect him for calling a spade a spade here, or a bunch of tools in this case.

Anonymous 23 Oct 16

This shows mediators to be human like the rest of us. Maybe they should rename it "mediator aggression week" so that mediators can have a good old punch up with all of the other mediators they hate? Fight Club 2

Anonymous 23 Oct 16

As chair of the whole conference, Burr was well placed to say what the mediation event was really like, rather than all the marketing guff on the website. Sexual harassment claims aside, you'd have to give Burr the benefit of the doubt and conclude the whole thing was a shambles!! Fair play to him for speaking his mind!

Anonymous 24 Oct 16

Watching a painfully dull 2 hour mock mediation would be enough to make me want to hit the bottle and start a fight

Anonymous 24 Oct 16

Very innovative - they've invented a new kind of alternative dispute resolution: creating ever-deepening public embarrassment of yourself and your colleagues until everyone's too shamefaced to talk or argue about it any more. Brilliant.

Anonymous 24 Oct 16

Mediators think that the best form of marketing is the "mock mediation" as if solicitors didn't know what a mediation involved. It is deeply patronising. This event will have attracted more publicity for mediation than anything in its history. I wonder if this is a clever ruse to attract attention? If so, brilliant.

Anonymous 28 Oct 16

The fact that this email was forwarded and then published is very disrespectful towards the lady involved and chimes with the culture that led to snooty men asuming that she was a prostitute because she was thai and outside the Savile club. Shame on those getting a kick out of this.

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