John Brand and Felicity Steadman win CEDR ADR Trainer award

05 December 2012

The citation for the award read as follows:

Nomination for the CEDR Award for ADR Trainer:

John Brand and Felicity Steadman, for their work in South Africa


John Brand and Felicity Steadman are consistently cited as the two primary instigators of the successful establishment of Commercial Mediation Skills Training in South Africa, working through Conflict Dynamics. More than 160 mediators have been accredited by Conflict Dynamics, working in association with Barney Jordaan of the African Centre for Dispute Resolution at the University of Stellenbosch.


John and Felicity have worked together in South Africa since the late 1980's training mediators and arbitrators in the field of labour dispute resolution. They undertook this training for panellist of the Independent Mediation Service of South Africa (IMSSA) and the Arbitration Foundation of South Africa (AFSA); in the mid 1990's they wrote and piloted the training materials for the first Commissioners of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. In the late 1990's they co-wrote conciliator and mediator training materials for the International Labour Organisation and have trained conciliators and mediators in many developing countries around the world.

By 2007 John and Felicity had recognised that while mediation was a well established dispute resolution process in the labour field it had yet to be established in the commercial sphere, and that this situation was increasingly at odds with the trend elsewhere in Africa and in the world.

They also recognised that if mediation was to be embraced by parties to commercial disputes in South Africa it would have to be work effectively. Whether parties used mediation voluntarily or as a result of a court-referral, it was crucial that mediators were well trained and accredited.

In 2007 they approached CEDR to involve it in the training of commercial mediators in South Africa. CEDR conducted an initial 5 mediation skills training courses in South Africa, and some 99 mediator were accredited by CEDR. By 2010 John and Felicity had developed an indigenous commercial mediator skills training course which was endorsed by CEDR. They had also developed a competency framework to use in the coaching and assessment of mediators. Eight mediator skills training courses have since been conducted by John and Felicity in South Africa, and over 160 mediators have achieved CD/ACDS accredited mediator status. The CD/ACDS accreditation is recognised by the major mediator provider panels in South Africa.

John and Felicity have maintained their links with CEDR and also offer a CEDR accreditation to South African mediators who wish to achieve international accreditation. A third of the mediators accredited on the courses conducted by John and Felicity have applied for CEDR accreditation and, with only very few exceptions, have been successful in achieving CEDR accreditation. This is testament to the quality of the training that John and Felicity are providing.

The Conflict Dynamics Mediator Skills Course takes place over 5 full days and is facilitated by John and Felicity, assisted by a faculty of experienced South African mediators who work with them as coaches and assessors.

John Brand, a South African attorney of the High Court of South Africa, is a member of the advisory board of the African Centre for Dispute Settlement at Stellenbosch University and is a member of the executive committee of the Dispute Settlement Accreditation Council. John also serves as a member on the International Mediation Institute's (IMI) Independent Standards Commission. He co-designed the conciliation and arbitration induction training for the South African Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and has trained many of South Africa’s employment and commercial mediators and arbitrators for the past 15 years. He was a member of the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) team of international experts appointed to design mediation training for developing countries.

Felicity Steadman is a full time dispute resolution practitioner and trainer from South Africa. She was a mediator and arbitrator with IMSSA and a senior part-time Commissioner with the CCMA. She is now a member of the international panel of Tokiso of South Africa. Felicity is based in the UK and works as a mediator trainer and as a mediator, primarily with CEDR. She is a founding member of Oxford Mediation and also works as an independent mediator and trainer. Felicity is an IMI accredited mediator. Felicity has worked extensively with the ILO, designing training materials and training conciliators and mediators in developing countries, and as an expert in conflict management and dispute resolution.

Together with their colleague Chris Todd, John and Felicity will soon be publishing book on commercial mediation in South Africa.