Power resides where men believe it resides- Varys
The Australian state of Queensland is known for its sun, sand, sea and surf and Michaela and Veronika have certainly had their fair share of all four this week. In addition to their studies they have visited the Sea World and the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, as well as some of the Gold Coast’s famous beaches. It was a week of firsts for our visitors including cuddling koalas, feeding kangaroos, patting marine creatures and discovering indigenous Australian artwork and dancing. As the Czech Republic is a land locked country this was also Veronika’s first swim in the surf! Being able to visit the beach is something I have taken for granted in the past, but won’t be doing in the future.
This week also marked the beginning of the research project which involved a crash course in mediation theory by Melinda and attending Dispute Resolution lectures at QUT. The dispute resolution course is a new compulsory course being taught by James Duffy and Rachael Field, two of the foremost experts on dispute resolution in Australia. This week’s lecture focused on power, and in particular how power relates to and interacts with ADR. Power manifests itself in all manner of ways including financial power, legal or moral power and even knowledge and understanding power. Laurence Boulle defines power as the ability to affect the perceptions, attitudes and behaviours of others and the lecture focussed on negotiating power, which is the ability to identify and use the sources of power available in a negotiating process.
Power, just like conflict, can be both real and perceived and underestimating an opponent can be just as dangerous as overestimating an opponent. In the first instance you act out of arrogance whilst in the second you act out of fear, both of which can be damaging in representing a client. We learned that effective lawyers must be keenly aware of their own power, the power of the other side and the power of their respective clients. Despite the complex concepts discussed in the lecture Michaela and Veronika found It enjoyable, with Veronika going so far as to call it “juicy”! They also enjoyed the engaging lecture style of James and Rachael and said they would like to see more of that in the Czech Republic.
Next week we have a series of official visits planned to enable our visitors to see ADR in action in our courts and Tribunals, so stay posted!