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"
||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.