Tournament Rules – Undergraduate

INTERNATIONAL INTERCOLLEGIATE MEDIATION TOURNAMENT

 

RULES OF THE TOURNAMENT

 

  1. Introduction

This competition is designed to help undergraduate students understand the value of resolving disputes through mediation (peacemaking) so that they can apply it in their personal and professional lives. There are two categories of competition in this tournament, Mediation, determined by scores of co-mediators, and Advocacy, determined by scores assigned to advocate/client units.

  1. Team Orientation

Every effort will be made to insure that the rules and cases are clear. Those who intend to participate are encouraged to raise any questions they have with the tournament director. The tournament schedule includes an orientation meeting where all entries may hear the questions of others and the answers of the tournament director.

  1. Team Composition

A school may enter one or two teams in the tournament. A mediation team is comprised of three undergraduate students. An additional student may participate as an alternate, or may be placed on a “bye” team with students from other schools.   However, only three students from each team may participate per round. An “undergraduate student” is one who is enrolled in a two-year or four-year college or university. This includes any student seeking a second baccalaureate degree, but does not include any student seeking a graduate or professional degree. Students enrolled in a college or university outside of the United States are eligible to participate, as long as they have not completed more than the first half of their legal education. Students are not allowed to participate in the tournament for more than five years.

After the deadline for registration, the tournament may allow additional teams to register, until the total capacity for entries is reached. Teams wishing to add additional teams if space is available should indicate on their initial registration.

In each mediation round, a team assigns one of its members to perform as a co-mediator. Two other members of the team perform as client and as the client’s advocate. Thus, an individual mediation brings together performers from four different teams each representing a different college or university. Thus, co-mediators from Schools A and B will work together to settle a dispute between a plaintiff/complainant appearing with an advocate and competing for School C and a defendant/respondent appearing with an advocate and competing for School D.

  1. Format of the Tournament
  2. The Tournament Rounds

The tournament consists of three preliminary rounds, a semi-final round and a final or championship round. In each preliminary round a different team member must be the mediator. The same is true for advocates. A different team member must play advocate in each round.   If a team reaches the semi-final or final round, the team may decide which of their members will play the role or roles for which the team has qualified.

The pairings in all preliminary rounds are randomly generated. After the preliminary rounds all the teams are ranked. The top eight teams in mediation and the top eight advocate/client units based upon preliminary rankings will then compete in the semi-final round. Based upon the results of the semi-final rounds, the top four competitors in each category will then advance to the championship round. The tournament director will determine the pairings for the final rounds, based upon distribution of schools and participants within the rankings

  1. The Mediation

Each 90-minute round begins with the co-mediators opening remarks. The suggested time for each co-mediator is four minutes. The co-mediators will decide who will speak first or may decide between them which parts of the opening statement each one will cover. It is up to the discretion of the co-mediators to determine whether opening statements will be individual or combined content. After the co-mediators opening remarks are completed, each advocate will make an opening statement. The clients may be offered an opportunity to speak briefly at this time, and may contribute as appropriate throughout the mediation. During the balance of the mediation, whether in caucus or in conference, the advocates and clients should work together and with the mediators to achieve the client’s goals. The advocates and clients should act realistically and professionally in the spirit of mediation.

After the openings are complete, one of the co-mediators will conduct a first caucus with the claimant in the case. The other co-mediator will then conduct a first caucus with the defendant. During these first caucuses, the co-mediator not conducting the caucus shall not participate but only observe.

At the conclusion of each first caucus, the observing co-mediator will have an opportunity to obtain clarification of issues presented in the caucus. Upon completion of the first caucuses the co-mediators may proceed in either caucus or conference style, however, it must be noted that the mediation must employ conference styles at some point. The judges will expect to be able to score this element on their ballots. It should also be noted that no points are to be deducted if the mediation is unsuccessful or does not reach a settlement. The preliminary round mediations are limited to 90 minutes duration. Furthermore, co-mediators should ensure that caucuses are not used by either party to create unfair competitive advantage, for example, by staying in caucus for extended periods to deprive the opposing side of time in front of the judges. The co-mediators are responsible for ensuring that caucus time is used effectively.

  1. Judges

There are two judges for each round. The judges will score independently of each other. Judges are provided a statement of the case as well as the confidential information provided each party. Students may not at any time confer with the judges until their ballots have been turned in. Thereafter the judges may provide a brief critique. Judges may make brief comments at the end of the 90 minutes allotted for each mediation.

  1. Ballots and Scoring

Each judge will have two ballots, one to score the co-mediators and the other to score the attorneys and their clients. Thus, the co-mediators are scored against each other on one ballot, and the attorney/client units are scored against each other on the other. Both ballots have space for scoring in five categories with 0-10 points awarded in each category. The co-mediators are scored for 1) their opening statements, 2) first caucus, 3) conference mediation, 4) qualities of a good mediator and 5) cooperation between mediators. Advocate/clients are scored on 1) opening statement, 2) first caucus, 3) Conference mediation, 4) cooperation between advocate and client, and 5) overall evaluation.

  1. Scheduling

The Tournament will be held in the Fall of each year, a date to be determined by the INADR Undergraduate Tournament Committee.

  1. Cases to be Mediated

In each round the same case will be used for all mediations. The case packet will include a common set of facts disclosed to both sides and the co-mediators between a week and ten days before the tournament. Immediately before each round begins a separate confidential fact sheet—unique to each side–will be handed out to the advocates and clients. These secret facts may be disclosed or kept secret during the mediation but may NOT be denied or contradicted. Denial or contradiction of the secret facts will result in point deductions.

  1. Timekeeping

Co-mediators are responsible for keeping their mediation on time within the ninety minutes allotted.

  1. Permissible Assistance

Faculty and other coaches may confer with their students until the mediation commences. Thereafter they may not give advice or instructions to, or attempt to communicate with, any of the participants. Coaches may observe the mediations where members of their team are performing, but may not “scout” other teams. Violation of this rule may result in loss of points or disqualification.

Cell phones are allowed in mediations as timekeeping or calculating devices ONLY, and are not to be utilized in any other way during the mediation. Al phones must be turned off or placed in airplane mode by all participants and spectators.

  1. Staying Within the Record

While teams may draw reasonable inferences from the facts, they are cautioned to stay within a reasonable range of inference. They should not invent material self-serving facts.   If a judge feels that a team has gone beyond a reasonable inference, she/he may reduce the team’s score accordingly.

  1. Ballots

Mediation ballots designate scoring ranges for specific attributes of mediators, advocates and their clients, and permit judges to write comments. The INADR Board regularly reassesses the attributes emphasized on the ballots. Every effort will be made to return each team’s tournament ballots at the end of the tournament. Copies of the ballot forms to be used by INADR will be posted on the Academy website at least 30 days before the tournament.

  1. Scoring/Tabulation

In our tournaments, the mediation competition and the advocacy competition are separate and independent of each other, like two events in a track meet. The scores for one are no part of the scores for the other. We can therefore tabulate them separately and simultaneously.

All ballots have five elements scored in each round by two scoring judges. When ballots come in to the Tab Room, tabulators need to make sure that all five elements are scored. If not, someone must track down the absent-minded judge and get his or her score.

Tabulators also need to be sure that scores are attributed to the correct team. One judge may score Team A on the right side of the ballot while the other judge may score Team A on the left side. Tabulators need to check specifically for this and correct the error when they find it.

Tabulation begins by adding raw scores given by each judge to each co-mediator and each attorney/client unit. On each ballot the side that scores higher is awarded 1 “point” or “win” (or “championship points”). The side that scores lower gets 0, (not -1). In case of a tie, each side gets .5. These points, or wins, are the first determinant of team rank.

The next step is to record the difference between the two sides in raw score, i.e. the raw score differential (RSD). For example, if a judge gives one co-mediator a raw score total of 45 and the other co-mediator a raw score total of 40, the RSD for the first co-mediator is +5, and for the second -5. These raw score differentials (RSD’s) are the second determinant of team rank. They break the ties within categories of “points” or “wins.” If there is still an unresolved tie, raw score may be used to break the tie.

Coaches and participants who are not actively involved in the tabulation process are not allowed in the tab room while tabulating occurs.  A coach or a designated team representative from each school may review ballots after each round.  The Tournament Director will designate the time, place, and method for making ballot copies available at the end of each round. The Coach or Team representative should bring any discrepancies in tabulation to the attention of the Tournament Director as soon as discovered, but all questions must be resolved prior to presentation of awards.

 

 

  1. Outside Materials; Technology

The purpose of this competition is to help students develop their mediation and advocacy skills. The focus is on how the students perform during the round. Therefore, no pre-prepared materials may be brought into the round to be presented to the judges or other competitors in the round. This includes any use of technology such as PowerPoint slides or other presentation software. Competitors may themselves use any competition-supplied materials (general and confidential information) or personal notes they have prepared to assist them during the round. Teams that wish to use a flip chart or white board during the round should bring their own materials.

  1. Advancing to the Final Rounds

The top eight mediation teams and top eight advocate/client teams will advance to the semifinal round. The same process will be followed for determining the four teams in each category that advance to the final round. Only the ballots from the semi-final round will be used in determining who advances to the final round.

In the preliminary, semi-final, and final rounds, no mediator may mediate for an advocate/client team from his/her school.

  1. Awards

The top ten individual mediators will be given All-World honors and awarded trophies after the preliminary rounds. The top ten advocate/client teams will also be given All-World honors and awarded trophies after the preliminary rounds. The top four mediation and advocate/client teams will be awarded team trophies, one through four, after the final rounds.

Individual awards will be determined by 1) ballots won; 2) total scores, and 3) margin of victory.