First South Asian Team to Win at Bucerius Germany

Jan 16 2023.

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Shayhum Aboosalih and Rishika Pandey made strides at the recently concluded Mediation Competition organised by the Bucerius Law School in Germany. The event was sponsored by Bodenheimer and brought to a finale a year of many developments in the ADR sphere. Alternate Dispute Resolution or ADR is a culmination of solutions offered to resolve disputes out of court.

People, institutes and even states are able to use the mechanism of ADR in order to negotiate, seek advise and be able to move forward in their dealings. While the main benefit is that parties are able to seek counsel in more than one matter with more flexibility than a sovereign’s judiciary, each offering under the ADR umbrella comes with its unique flavour and advantages depending on the interests of the parties involved. 

Mediation is one such method which aims to facilitate an amicable settlement among parties. It gives parties the self-determination or freedom to choose how they would like to decide their case. A mediation is also private, so information shared is kept strictly confidential protecting the interests of the parties. In order to make those in disagreement more amenable to conversation, a well-experienced mediator would be present to facilitate a forward-looking discussion. 

Parties are encouraged to also bring their lawyers, however in the case of a mediation, legal counsels serve as professionals guiding their client. This is done by helping them to further their interests i.e. focussing on what they came to talk about. The counsels play an important role in ensuring that discussions do not get bogged down in legal positions about who is right or wrong. The lawyers also help provide an understanding of the alternatives at hand in case parties are unable to settle during the mediation.

The Bucerius Law school is one of the more prestigious establishments located in Hamburg Germany. They now host an annual international mediation competition where University students from around the world are given an opportunity to participate in a simulated mediation space. Judgement is made on their advocacy and negotiation skills. This year saw 24 teams from across the globe participate both on-site and online from their countries in a hybrid competition format. Shayhum Aboosalih is a past Pupil of St. Peter’s College and took part at Bucerius representing both Sri Lanka and the University of London. His experience in various fields like Tech, Finance, and Media has given him an edge for cross-industry negotiations that take place internationally. Being a part of his family business in the Gem and Jewellery trade brings out a sense of commercial acumen which is reflected in his negotiation style.

Rishika Pandey from India is reading her final year in both business and law at the University of Jindal, Delhi. She is no stranger to ADR. Her contribution to the field ranges in a myriad of forms, from authoring many published articles to being a coach for over 10 mediation teams. Together Rishika and Shayhum caught the attention of organisers, mediators and judges with their advocacy skills and scored the highest overall marks in the preliminary rounds. The duo then became the only South Asian and Virtual team to make it into the semis, ultimately winning the competition. This is the first time that a Sri Lankan won first place. In addition, Rishika was also awarded the Best Negotiation Style.

While this is a proud moment the team wishes to use the experience and network made during the event to develop Mediation and ADR in their countries. Such competitions are useful ways where students can broaden their horizons and find better opportunities. Legal professionals can improve their attitude towards disputes, especially by always seeing how matters can be resolved in the most amicable manner possible.


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