Two membership organisations join to create largest in Australasia

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Last week members of LEADR and the Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators Australia (IAMA) made the historic decision to join together, creating the largest dispute resolution membership organisation in the Southern Hemisphere.

LEADR has been influential as a membership organisation, training and accreditation provider for mediators for more than 20 years across Australia and New Zealand. In 2013, the two branches agreed to integrate and become one trans-Tasman organisation.

This coming together proved a great success and allowed the group to do things it wouldn’t have been able to do beforehand, according to LEADR director and NZ committee chair Mark Beech.

The latest integration with IAMA presents further opportunities to grow the membership voice of Alternative Disputes Resolution (ADR) practitioners in the Australasian region, he says.

“It enables us to roll out a lot more services for our members,” Beech told Australasian Lawyer.

“There was an historical attempt to merge [IAMA and LEADR] some years ago, but it’s only just come back on the agenda in the last five months…I think, like most membership organisations, there are certain times when it’s better to do things. The synergy is right, and the members are there to support it.”

Vitally, it will give disputes resolution in the region a multi-disciplined and international voice, he says.

Members of the new organisation across a wide variety of dispute resolution areas including mediation, arbitration, adjudication, conciliation, facilitation, community engagement, neutral evaluation, conflict coaching and restorative justice. 

There is an expected membership of more than 3,500 practitioners in the new integrated organisation.

“It enables our members to have credibility in the international market place,” says Beech. “I think there is an international movement towards resolving issues outside of the courts because of the costs and delays.”

Australia and New Zealand already have well-developed and respected disputes resolution systems, and the integration of LEADR and IAMA will build up a stronger platform to enable further opportunities within the Pacific ring, he says.

The chair of IAMA, Rowena McNally, says both organisations have been founded on a strong professional membership base.

“As a single entity, we will achieve economies of scale that will enable us to be more responsive to our members’ needs, more responsive to the market’s needs and more able to promote us of ADR,” she says.