This two and a half day skills-based program was an introduction to settlement conferences, giving participants an opportunity to become familiar with the process of settlement conferences and, mostly, to learn and apply techniques for presiding them efficiently.
This program was aimed at developing the following judicial skills: learning how to assist parties in transitioning from being an opposing party to facilitating solutions in a settlement conference; recognizing the many aspects (legal, ethical, social and psychological) of the settlement conference process; identifying the interests of parties who choose to be involved in a settlement conference; identifying recurring problems in matters of insurance, family law, corporate law and civil law; distinguishing and practicing positional negotiation and principled negotiation; implementing strategies for overcoming resistance during the process.
This training favoured case studies in order to help judges develop and apply their skills in presiding settlement conferences. Through presentations by experienced judges and an academic expert, interactive demonstrations and small group exercises, the first part of the training was aimed at explaining the process of presiding a settlement conference and learning techniques and strategies to apply in a settlement conference. The second part of the training was focused on role playing, in order to give judges an opportunity to apply the techniques they learned, and obtain feedback from presenters. The final part of the training addressed ethical issues related to settlement conferences, through the use of case studies discussed in small groups and a plenary session.