Commercial and Court-Referred Mediator Skills - CEDR AWARD WINNING

This is a five-day mediator skills course which will equip you to mediate in a variety of contexts, including in the court-referred context. This course combines an understanding of pertinent concepts in negotiation and mediation with opportunities for practice, coaching, and assessment with one on one feedback. Past delegates report that they use the skills beyond commercial conflicts in educational, workplace, and many other settings. The mediation style that is taught is essentially a facilitative one. Successful candidates will be awarded accreditation as commercial mediators by Conflict Dynamics. The course is endorsed by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution in the United Kingdom, which recognises the course as a basis for mediator accreditation with CEDR. CEDR accreditation is subject, at a fee, to an independent assessment by CEDR. In 2012 CEDR awarded John Brand and Felicity Steadman the ADR Trainer Award for their work on this course. There are, of course, no guarantees of work for accredited mediators, although as the field grows in South Africa these opportunities are opening up. The topic 'Marketing yourself and a mediator' is addressed on this course and CD Direct provides many opportunities for accredited mediators to find work and to continue to develop their skills.


  1. The course pre-work covers modern dispute resolution theory, the primary dispute resolution processes, the relationship between mediation and the South African civil justice system, and aspects of commercial mediation including considerations when deciding to mediate.
  2. The new court-referred mediation process and related professional responsibilities including reporting obligations are comprehensively addressed, along with basic civil procedure;
  3. Understanding the mediation process, its principles and methodology, including key skills for managing the process with confidence and working effectively through the different phases of the mediation process.
  4. Understanding the role and function of the mediator, including working effectively with the people in the mediation process, creating and maintaining a safe environment, respecting confidentiality, working impartially and neutrally, demonstrating an awareness of diversity and using a range of enhanced communication skills.
  5. Engaging actively with the typical content of commercial disputes, exploring this content, assisting parties generate options in a creative manner, negotiate effectively and make decisions, thereby maximizing the potential for settlement.
  6. A discussion about typical ethical challenges faced by mediators, and a review of South African as well international ethical and professional codes of conduct for mediators.
  7. Extensive use of role-plays with opportunities for coaching and feedback, culminating in assessment.
  8. The post-course work involves drafting an agreement to mediate and a settlement agreement.

This course is accredited by the South African Board for People Practices (SABPP) and is aligned to unit standard 117848 Conduct Mediation in Situations that Require Advanced Skills (NQF occupational qualification level 5, 12 credits).

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What participants say

"Very well organized and structured course with real practice to deepen the understanding of the theory."
- Maria Wanyane, Social Worker, University of the Witwatersrand, October 2019

"This course provides a practical guide to the world of mediation."
- Neo Bokaba, Employment Equity & B-BBEE Manager, University of the Witwatersrand, October 2019

"Conflict Dynamics provides a comprehensive and practical approach to mediation. I have no doubt that the skills acquired will be of great benefit to me in both my personal and professional life."
- Charlene Beukes, Director: Gender Equity Office, University of the Witwatersrand, October 2019

"Very intensive course facilitated by highly skilled and professional facilitators."
- Delegate, October 2019

"An eye opener and life changing course. A must do for all professionals especially HR practitioners and senior managers."
- Phumelele Nzimande, Commissioner, Public Service Commission, October 2019

"One of the most intensive courses I have ever attended. Great fun and has given me tremendous insight into my litigation style and my approach to conflict outside of the court room."
- Leigh de Souza-Spagnoletti, Edeling van Niekerk Inc. Attorneys, Attorney/Director, July 2019

"Excellent course that equipped me with tools, not just for the workplace but for everyday life as well."
- Prof. Amaboo Dhai, Delegate, July 2019

"This course provides a practical guide to the world of mediation. It is a course that gives you the skills and confidence to negotiate. It is fun and enjoyable!"
- Radhika Singh, Global Tax and Investments (Pty) Ltd, Director Mergers and Acquisitions, July 2019

"Real practical and useful environment of learning, facilitated by magnificent, diverse and experienced professionals."
- Mmeli Danisa, National Youth Development Agency, Specialist: Employee Relations and Wellness, July 2019

"An intense and thorough examination of the process, philosophy and craft of mediation."
- Ori Ben-zeev, Advocate, July 2019

"Amazing course, very practical and relevant. Appropriate for a variety of professions."
- Robyn Hunter, Robyn Hunter Occupational Therapy, July 2019

"The course has enabled a mindset change from giving the solution” to assisting parties to arrive at their own solutions. It has been a mind blowing” course in terms of the amount of content covered together with the diversity of areas covered. I would definitely recommend!"
- Kayoori Chiba, Chiba Attorneys, Director, July 2019

"Quite intense and a prerequisite set of skills for everyone. It takes you out of your comfort zone, but it is well worth it."
- Samuel Mpofu, Delegate, July 2019

"I have come away with a fundamental understanding of what must surely be the best way to seek to resolve disputes. I am inspired to be part of the mediation revolution."
- Jennifer Smit, Werksmans Inc, Director, July 2019

"This course moved me from my comfort zone, challenged my inner core and made me rediscover my competence and incompetence. I feel totally empowered and renewed overall."
- Cynthia Zondi, HR Manager, Nampak Divfood, May 2019

"A very thoughtfully crafted course, well taught and immediately implementable in my work."
- Judith Wilson, Commercial Director, South African Sugar Association, May 2019

"A well structured course providing the necessary learnings and confidence for handling mediations."
- Fabian Fayers, Human Resources Executive, South African Sugar Association, March 2019

"An intensive and challenging course that met it’s objectives in imparting mediation skills and knowledge."
- Tamara Cohen, Labour law specialist and Academic, UKZN and Aequitate Professional Employment Law Solutions, March 2019

"Challenging, intense and sobering with lots of practical learning and honest feedback."
- Jacquie Bhana, HR Director, Tongaat Hulett Sugar SA, March 2019

"This course challenged me on various levels. In addition to acquiring valuable new skills, I developed and enhanced abilities in other areas. An extremely thorough course that exceeded all expectations."
- Aneshree Singh, Senior Legal Administration Officer, Department of Public Works Kwazulu-Natal, March 2019

"This has been one of the most dynamic & informative training courses I have ever been on and it has been brilliant! Every day is packed with learning experiences. The amount of practical work is invaluable and faculty feedback is great."
- Betina Fleming, Senior Employee Relations Advisor, WITS, Feb 2019

"In my many years of practice, I have attended many conferences, courses and seminars. Never have I experienced the level of seamless organisation, professional presentation and informative material as provided by Conflict Dynamics. It was excellent and I learn a lot, even after 40 years of practice."
- Schalk van der Merwe, Partner, VFV Attorneys, Feb 2019

"Professional & thoroughly enjoyable! "
- Claire Penfold, Family Life Centre, Nov 2018

"One of the most comprehensive, intense and valuable courses I have ever attended. Well structured, practical and relevant."
- Charmaine du Toit, Tigiza Holdings (Pty) Ltd, Operations Manager, Nov 2018

"Conflict Dynamics’ Commercial Mediation course provides a comprehensive introduction to the theory and practicalities of mediation and of conflict management generally. The course benefits from the experience of the presenters, course designers and assessors and provides excellent practical insights into the process of mediation."
- Rob Watson, MacCallums, Oct 2018

"Designed with precision and delivered with excellence!"
- Sean Andrew, Programme Lead, The Western Cape Economic Development Partnership, July 2018

"The value that this course provides in 5 days is remarkable. I have learnt so much and will definitely apply these principles in my day-to-day!"
- Melanie Radcliffe, Adjudicator, Consumer Goods and Services Ombud, July 2018

"This training has left me feeling empowered and competent to mediate. You have not been trained as a mediator until you have gone through Conflict Dynamics’s training on Commercial Mediation."
- Samukelisiwe Dlamini, Senior Dispute Resolution Officer, NERSA, July 2018

"What an incredible learning curve! These are skills I can use in every aspect of my life. Thank you for a fantastic course!"
- Amelia Wright, Occupational Therapist, Amelia Wright Occupational Therapists, July 2018

"This course completely changed my perception of mediation. This was so insightful."
- Bonita Hughes, Complaints Manager, Consumer Goods and Services Ombud, July 2018

"This has been a thoroughly enjoyable course. Very insightful and necessary for all! I would highly recommend Conflict Dynamics for all interested would-be mediators!"
- Nonhlanhla Ndlovu, Intern, Goodman & Wynn, July 2018

"The course was incredibly informative, rigorous and challenged me to extend my skills and understanding. It took me out of my comfort zone and was very empowering. I’m looking forward to putting my new skills into practice."
- Patti Silbert, Education Specialist, UCT, May 2018

"Excellent course. Great way to hone analytical, listening and a range of other skills. Very pleased I did this!"
- Judith February, Senior Research Associate, Institute for Security Studies, May 2018

"Professional in every sense. Well done John, Ebrahim and Craig. It was a real pleasure & an amazing experience."
- Allan Lowndes, Partner, Lowndes Dhlamini Inc, Feb 2018

"Cutting edge learning for everyday use."
- Charlene Labuschagne, Feb 2018

"This is what I needed for my development! "
- Lucky Kolobe, Imperial Logistics, HR Director, Feb 2018

"The course is, in my view, at the cutting edge of mediation training and I am excited to apply the skills learnt into practice."
- Gillian Lowndes, Partner, Lowndes Dhlamini Inc, Feb 2018

"Excellent teaching. A very stimulating learning experience."
- Simon Attwell, Manager, Freeground Records, Oct 2017

"Very practical course, not only in terms of skills required for mediation but a lot of skills that I can immediately put into practice in other areas too."
- Claire Kolbe, Director, Recro Business Consulting, Oct 2017

"It was tough and very stimulating. I am keen to learn more."
- Stephanie Esterhuyse, Of Counsel, Bowmans, Oct 2017

"It was well worth the time and commitment. I have learnt and acquired some life changing skills that I cannot wait to put to good use. Very exciting!"
- Companies Tribunal Member, Oct 2017

"Highly recommended course of the highest standard."
- Dr Lente van der Merwe, Anesthesiologist, Oct 2017

"Experience mind shifting mediation training."
- Francois Roux, Business Owner, Triponza Trading, Oct 2017

"The course provided me with new skills in context with mediation as well as conflict resolution skills to be used personally. Excellent course, well presented and facilitated."
- Alan Cawdry, Regional Manager Western Cape Card Division, Nedbank, May 2017

"I feel like I have the tools to hone my skills and become an excellent mediator and negotiator. I am sold on the benefits of mediation and feel slightly evangelical about getting people to mediate. A brilliant, well delivered course."
- Anne Green, Attorney, May 2017

"Conflict Dynamics’s training has enabled me to confidently practice as a commercial mediator."
- Serai Herbst, Executive Director, May 2017

"A great opportunity to learn the powerful tools of negotiation through softer skill development."
- Danielle Ladopoulos, Forensic Accountant, Fides Financial Advisory, May 2017

"Wow! What a wonderful experience. I think my approach to disputes, even life as a whole, may change from here on."
- Clea Rawlins, Attorney, May 2017

"Superb! Informative, fun and highly recommended. I encourage the legal professional to attend the course and promote mediation in South Africa."
- Whitney Maclons, Attorney, Adriaans Attorneys, May 2017

"An absolute must, very practical and to the point."
- Dirk Scholtz, Managing Consultant, Pro-Act, Oct 2016

"Very practical learning with roleplays and coaching sessions. Got valuable, direct feedback. By the time I was finished, I felt equipped to be a mediator with the right skills and knowledge."
- Beki Ngwenya, Consulting Director, Beracah Consulting, Oct 2016

"A practical and comprehensive mediation course, expertly delivered with great care and attention to detail."
- Greg Schreiner, Environmental Scientist, CSIR, Oct 2016

"I really enjoyed this course and have learnt so much. I feel my eyes have been opened to the possibilities of mediation. I feel enlightened and invigorated by the learning and will share positive feedback about this course and the trainers with all who will listen."
- Karin Livni, Repro Manager, Highbury Safika Media, Oct 2016

"Comprehensive exposure and training in the Swiss Army” toolkit of mediation. Incisive, exploratory, versatile, effective."
- Roj Beigley, Managing Director, Spirigent (Pty) Ltd, Oct 2016

"This is the most user-friendly course I have ever attended."
- Rosecana Ankama, Lecturer, Kaduna Polytechnic, Oct 2016

"There is nothing that a man can learn that they cannot unlearn. "
- Thabang Kheswa, SAHRC course February 2016

"I have litigated for about 10 years. I got to a point where I convinced myself that litigation was the only way to resolve a dispute. Little did I know that all I was doing was simply standing in the way of real solutions to problems. I now know that litigation has little to do with conflict resolution and more to do with who wins and who loses."
- Delegate, SAHRC course February 2016

"It is in allowing different views to emerge and find expression, that we are likely to find lasting solutions."
- Pura Mgolombane , Manager: Diversity – Ethics & Social Justice - WITS, February 2016

"Intense, informative, excellent. I recommend it for all attorneys."
- Jones Antunes, Attorney – Fluxmans Attorneys, February 2016

"As fascinating as it is demanding, as it is essential."
- Gawie Malan, Director - Malan Scholes Inc, February 2016

"The Gold standard in commercial mediation in South Africa. Takes mediation to a different level. You learn from the best."
- Jacqui O’Brien, Owner – PAX Accredited Mediators, February 2016

"One of the most value aspects of the course is the role-plays because you are able to get hands-on experience and get exposure to the kinds of disputes that could go to mediation."
- Delegate, August 2015 course

"Trainers are great, and their shared experience is an added advantage."
- Delegate, August 2015 course

"The workbook was logically laid out, organised and user friendly!"
- South African Human Rights Commission Delegate, March 2015

"Trainers were superb, they should be sainted! Consummate professionals and true advocates of their discipline."
- South African Human Rights Commission Delegate, March 2105

"By far the most beneficial course I have attended to date!"
- South African Human Rights Commission Delegate, March 2015

"I think the practical exercises were best – they really give one a well-rounded view of possible issues that one may face in the real world."
- February 2015, Delegate

"All of the trainers were extremely approachable. It was useful to have individuals from various background to provide perspective and personal experiences in the field."
- February 2015, Delegate

"The trainers were all very professional, approachable and friendly. I have great respect for them and there is a lot to learn from them."
- February 2015, Delegate

"Beautifully thought through and compiled file is an asset and easy to refer to in future."
- Delegate, September 2014 course

"Thank you all for your wonderful facilitation, coaching and assessment work over the past week. It was a great programme and I learned a lot. Your dedication and commitment to the learning process is incredibly valuable."
- Mark Turpin, Delegate May 2014

"I just want to thank you once again for the way you guys opened my eyes to an entirely different way of approaching things. Although I've not conducted any mediations since I completed your course, I have found myself in the position that I've been requested to advise a few others who have been involved in conflicts of one kind or another. Inevitably this advice has come down to the simple principles of what you taught me. While acknowledging the merit and appropriateness of other processes in the resolution of disputes, everything having its time and place, I declare myself to be a huge fan of mediation and the benefits it can bring to those who adopt it with an open heart and open mind."
- Philip Hoole, Architect and accredited mediator

"Well done, John and Felicity! You are indeed the torch-bearers in the field of mediation and I trust that you will continue to illuminate the road for other legal professionals and the courts to embrace the process as value-adding to their practice."
- Colleague, commenting on the CEDR ADR Trainer's Award

"It was undoubtedly one of the most professional courses I have been on. You got down to business straight away! The files were amazing! The roles plays meticulously put together. I thoroughly enjoyed the participants and learned a huge amount from the experienced crowd as well as from the lawyers in the room. I felt utterly privileged to have you as my trainers, given your experience and commitment to the field. I appreciate why you won the award in London. It’s not just about the training output, but your combined Passion, Perspective and Perseverance (yes, the three P’s!)"
- Paul Kapelus, Delegate on November 2012 Commercial Mediator Skills training course

"Well done John and Felicity. I have personal experience and can see that the CEDR award is rightly deserved !! "
- Raj Daya, Deputy Chief State Law Adviser Rules Board for Courts of Law South Africa

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