Barriers to ADR in the Arabian Gulf: A Conversation About Training, Capacity, and Culture

Prof. Paula Marie Young1

Qatar University College of Law, P.O. Box 2713, Doha, Qatar,

I have now lived in Qatar for slightly over a year.  My colleagues at the law school and in private practice have asked me to offer trainings about ADR to local practitioners.  I have hesitated to do it without first understanding the context of those possible trainings.  I have spent the last year trying to get the answers to the following questions:

  • Does the region have a sufficient number of neutrals to handle the disputes arising here? Enough arbitrators, early neutral evaluators, mediators, group facilitators, etc.?
  • To enhance this capacity, what kind of training should neutrals in the region have available to them?
    • Substantive.
    • Procedural.
    • Ethical.
    • Cultural.
  • How do we build demand for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services among businesses, government entities, civil society, and courts? What kinds of trainings and other interactions should we offer these potential users of ADR services?
  • How do we help lawyers understand ADR and its uses in disputes that they handle on behalf of clients? How do we help them advise clients about arbitration, mediation, and other ADR-processes?
  • What cultural expectations exist about any particular ADR process?
  • How do you add value in a culture known for its bargaining skills?

The answers to these questions has surprised me.  I have learned that the region is fertile ground for building capacity to solve problems using tools that are still not widely accepted in the region.


Prof. Paula Marie Young, winner of the first Distinguished Mediator Award presented by the Virginia Mediation Network, teaches as a Clinical Professor of Law at the Qatar University College of Law in Doha, Qatar.  For thirteen years, she taught dispute resolution courses at a U.S. law school as a Professor of Law.  In addition, Virginia and Tennessee recognize her as a qualified trainer for court-approved mediators.

Prof. Young’s undergraduate and graduate degrees are from top-ranked Washington University (B.A.1978, J.D.1982) located in St. Louis, Missouri, and she is licensed to practice law in Missouri and D.C.  She received a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Dispute Resolution at the University of Missouri School of  Law in August 2003.  U.S. News and World Report has ranked it as a top program for over a decade, exceeding the ranking of the program at Harvard University during several years.

She has written over 50 law review publications, book chapters, and op-ed articles on mediation and arbitration.  For publications:

She has 30 years of experience as a commercial dispute litigator, mediator, and arbitrator specializing in energy, environmental, insurance, reinsurance, and other civil disputes.

Prof. Young is a nationally known mediation ethicist in the U.S.

About the Association

The Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration (AIJA) is a research and educational institute associated with Monash University. It is funded by the Law, Crime and Community Safety Council (LCCSC) and also from subscription income from its membership.

The principal objectives of the Institute include research into judicial administration and the development and conduct of educational programmes for judicial officers, court administrators and members of the legal profession in relation to court administration and judicial systems.

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