Tournament Rules – International Law School



Because of the growing importance of mediation throughout the world, this international competition is designed to help young professionals and students better understand the mediation process and peaceful conflict resolution. The primary difference between this tournament and others is that it requires participants not only to act as advocates and clients but just as important to act as mediators.

An important component of the tournament is the training provided for participants in mediator skills and advocacy skills. Pre-tournament training takes place at the site of the tournament or online or a combination of both methods prior to the tournament. Members of the INADR Board and other recognized experts in mediation and advocacy provide the pre-tournament training.

  • 1 Registration procedure
  1. Registration for the tournament proceeds via Flipcause registration link provided on the INADR website and social media. Teams are asked to complete the form providing university name, participants information and their contact details.
  2. The registration deadline shall be 02 February 2024. The Organizing Committee reserves the right to extend the registration dates.
  3. By registering for the tournament, a team agrees to pay a registration fee. Additionally, registration indicates that the respective team members have read and understood the Tournament Rules.
  4. Confirmation of the Team’s participation in the Tournament is completed and final only upon the fee payment. Once the payment is processed, the team will receive an email with a Flipcause payment confirmation.
  • 2 Team Orientation
  1. Every effort will be made to ensure clear rules and cases. All participants will be afforded the opportunity to ask questions via email using the address:
  1. The Organizing Committee will provide all the answers regarding rules and cases unless the given answer would disclose any confidential information.
  • 3 Team Composition
  1. Participants must be current higher education students (including undergraduate students and master students), or recent graduates (no more than 12 months prior to the tournament), as well as people engaged in post-graduate practical legal training (first-year trainees).
  2. A team is composed of three participants. Individual participants (without the pre-formed team of 3 participants) are eligible to express their intention to participate and the Organizer will contact them to discuss the possibility of participation.
  3. In the preliminary rounds, each member must act as a mediator once, an advocate once, and a client once. Teams that use more than three team members, for any reason, will not be eligible to advance to the final round; but individual team members may still be eligible for individual awards. If a team reaches the final round, the team can decide who will act as mediator, advocate, or client.
  4. Each round includes co-mediators who are from different schools (Mediator Team A and Mediator Team B). There is also an advocate/client team representing each side (Adv/Cl Team C and Adv/Cl Team D).
  1. The co-mediators and the advocate/client teams are all from different schools/institutions. Co-mediators will not mediate for their own schools/institutions in any preliminary round or in the final round.
  2. Each Team can be accompanied by a maximum of two Coaches. The Teams declare in the Registration Form the number of Coaches and whether the Coach(es) participate in the event onsite. Note that an additional registration fee may be required for coaches in attendance.
  • 4 Format
  1. The official and only language of the Competition is English.
  2. The ILSMT consists of three preliminary rounds. After completing the preliminary rounds, the ballots for each team are scored as per Section §19. Depending on the size of the tournament, there can be a semifinal round where up to the top 16 teams in mediation and the top 16 teams in advocate/client may advance to that round. The necessity and size of semifinal rounds are at the discretion of the Organizing Committee. The top four teams in each category qualify for the final round based on semifinal round scores.
  3. Before competition rounds begin, training is offered in mediation and advocacy at both the beginning and advanced levels.
  4. There will be a mandatory orientation session before the preliminary rounds. The Organizing Committee will provide all necessary information and answer all remaining questions.
  5. General information on all cases will be sent to the registered teams 10-14 days before the start of the tournament. Confidential information will be circulated to all participants 60 min before each Tournament Round. Note that every mediation during a specific round uses the same case, but there are different cases for every round.
  • 5 Scoring
  1. Mediators and advocate/client teams are scored separately. In each mediation, the co-mediators are scored against each other and the advocate/client teams are scored against each other. Both are scored in six categories, receiving 0-10 points in each.
  2. The categories for mediators are:
    • 1. Opening Statement of the Mediator;
    • 2. First Caucus;
    • 3. Conference;
    • 4. Qualities of A Good Mediator;
    • 5. Cooperation Between Mediators;
    • 6. Self-Evaluation.
  3. The categories for advocate/client teams are:
    • 1. Advocate’s Opening Statement and Client’s Opening Statement
    • 2. First Caucus;
    • 3. Conference;
    • 4. Teamwork Between Advocate and Client;
    • 5. Overall Evaluation;
    • 6. Self-Evaluation.
    • 6 Mediators
  1. Each mediator must make opening remarks of no more than 4 minutes. The mediators may decide who goes first and whether they will coordinate their remarks or make them independently. They have to decide this during the preparation stage, so the participation of both mediators and their cooperation before the round is compulsory. The judges understand that the co-mediator’s remarks may be quite similar.
  2. Each co-mediator must conduct a caucus (a private meeting between both mediators and one party) during the mediation. The timing of the caucus is at the mediator’s discretion. The co-mediators can decide who will conduct the first caucus and with which party, but each mediator must conduct the first caucus with a different party. The co-mediator not conducting the caucus will observe and may ask clarifying questions at the end of the caucus. Mediators should not try to take over their co-mediator’s first caucus.
  3. Co-mediators can use a conference or caucus format as they wish, though they must conduct at least one meaningful conference session. The mediators should try to ensure that caucuses are not used by parties to create unfair competitive advantage—e.g., by staying in caucus for extended periods of time so that the other advocate/client team is deprived of time in front of the judges. The mediators are responsible for ensuring that caucus time is used effectively. As a guideline, caucuses of longer than 10 minutes are discouraged.
  1. Responsibility rests with the mediators for timekeeping and adherence to the allotted time periods. Each mediation is limited to 90 minutes.

 *   7 Advocates and Clients

  1. The Advocate/Client pairs will each offer a brief summary of the facts and the client’s goals for the mediation after the mediators’ openings. The Advocate/Client Opening Statements may be presented by Client, Advocate or, ideally, both of them. This brief summary of facts and goals should take no more than 8 minutes.
  2. During the balance of the mediation, whether in the caucus or conference, the advocates and clients should work together with the mediators to achieve the client’s goals. The advocates and clients should act realistically and professionally in the spirit of mediation. Advocates and clients who appear to be seeking an unfair advantage by unnecessarily extending caucuses may be penalized by the judges.


  • 8 Judges
  1. There are two or more judges for each round. The judges will score independently of each other.
  2. Judges have access to all of the information provided to the teams. Students may not at any time confer with the judges until their ballots have been turned in. Thereafter the judges may provide short feedback.
  3. Judges are asked to stick to the provided guidelines when fulfilling their roles. If personal conflicts with coaches/participants appear (either raised in the past or in the context of the competition) Judges are required to communicate that to the Organizing Committee.
  • 9 Cases to be mediated
  1. In each round, the same case will be used for all mediations. The case packet will include a common set of facts (“General Information”) disclosed to both sides and the co-mediators and a separate confidential fact sheet given to each side (“Confidential Information”).
  2. The mediators will not receive the confidential fact sheets. Each of the 3 preliminary rounds and the final round will involve different cases.
  3. The General Information will be sent to the participants 10 days before the competition. Each Confidential Information file will be shared 60 minutes prior to the respective round commencement.
  4. If there is any unclear information, each team may ask the Organizing Committee for clarification of the facts, mentioned in the General Information. The deadline for the clarifications is 3 days after General Information for preliminary rounds is disclosed to participating teams.
  • 10 Timekeeping
  1. Responsibility rests with the student participants for timekeeping and adherence to the allotted time periods. Each mediation is limited to 90 minutes. Preparation for Self-Evaluation is limited to 5 minutes, and Self Evaluation should take no longer than 10 minutes.
  • 11 Self-evaluation
  1. Each participant will have five minutes to thoughtfully answer these questions at the conclusion of the mediation:
    • 1. If you had to do the mediation over again, what would you do the same and what would you do differently?
    • 2. What did you learn from your colleagues in the round?
  2. There will be a five-minute preparation period after the mediation period. All participants will stay in the room for this session. The purpose of self-evaluation and learning from colleagues is for individuals to reflect on what they have learned and provide positive feedback to their colleagues.
  3. The order of self-evaluation will be determined by the judges. Judges may ask questions during self-evaluation but should not offer critique at this time. Self-evaluations that are overly generic, that feel like prepared speeches, and that do not seem to reflect thoughtful analysis of the specific mediation should be scored no higher than a 5.
  • 12 Permissible Assistance
  1. Coaches must attend the Mandatory Orientation Session in advance of the tournament.
  2. Faculty and other coaches may assist their teams (only Client and Advocate) after the distribution of the Confidential Information, but only until the mediation begins. Thereafter, they may not give any advice or instructions to, or attempt to communicate in any way with, any of the participants until the conclusion of the Self-Evaluation (all four self-evaluations). Mediators cannot communicate with coaches after the distribution of confidential facts.
  3. Coaches and other persons associated with a team may observe the mediations in which their teams are participating.t.
  4. Coaches may also observe all self-evaluations associated with mediations in which their teams are participating.
  5. Coaches may not observe or “scout” any other teams.
  6. Once the mediation begins, no person associated with a team, including a team member who is not participating in that round, may communicate in any way with the participating team members until all self-evaluations are complete.
  7. Violation of the above-mentioned rules could result in a loss of points or even disqualification.
  • 13 Ethics and Staying with the Record
  1. Mediation sessions are conducted by participants in good faith. Lying is unethical and is forbidden during the Tournament.
  2. The tournament cases are self-contained and include all relevant facts. While teams may draw reasonable inferences to fill in gaps in the facts provided, they are cautioned to stay within a reasonable range of inference. They should not invent material, self-serving facts, they may not change any of the facts contained in the General or Confidential Information, misrepresent facts, deviate from the facts or deny them. If a judge feels a team has gone beyond a reasonable inference, she/he should score the team accordingly.
  3. Participants must behave with integrity.
  4. If participants seek to share confidential information with colleagues in violation of these rules or behave in ways that might give them or their colleagues an advantage, they will be disqualified.
  • 14 Outside materials | Technology
  1. The purpose of this competition is to help all students develop their mediation and advocacy skills. The focus is on how the students perform during the round. Therefore, no pre-prepared materials may be brought into the round to be presented to the judges or other competitors in the round. This includes any use of technology such as smartphones/smart watches, PowerPoint or any other presentation software.
  2. Competitors may themselves use any competition-supplied materials (general and confidential information) or personal notes they have prepared to assist them during the round. Only photographs or documents from the General Information may be shown to anyone during the mediation unless the Confidential Information includes a visual aid of some kind-which permits the advocates and clients to use it during the mediation.
  3. Teams may use a calculator and a wristwatch, as well as a whiteboard if one is present in the room; teams should not expect that the competition host will provide whiteboards, flip charts, markers, etc. Teams may bring blank flip charts or whiteboards for use during the mediation.
  • 15 Punctuality
  1. Participants are expected to be on time for all scheduled competition events. Teams that are late for the release of Confidential Information or for their rounds are subject to penalties, up to and including disqualification from the competition.
  • 16 Advancing to the Final Round
  1. After 3 preliminary rounds, advancement to the final round will be based first on the number of judge ballots won by each team, and second (in the event of a tie) on the margin of victory of the team, determined by comparing the co-mediator scores and/or advocate/client scores on each ballot for any team tied with another team for a position in the semifinal round.
  2. Any remaining ties will be broken by comparing total scores.
  3. In any round, no mediator may mediate for an advocate/client team from his/her school/institution.
  • 17 Registration fee
  1. Upon acceptance of the Team by the Organizing Committee, each team must pay the full registration fee within the time limit as indicated by the Organizing Committee.
  2. Registration fee: 750 USD for a three-person team.
  3. For additional team members, the registration fee shall be increased by 100 USD per additional person.
  4. The registration fee for each coach: 100 USD.
  5. If selected, the Organizers will contact the Team via email. Participation is confirmed only after payment of the  participation fee.
  6. Organizers will provide payment instructions and a receipt/invoice or confirmation as needed. All banking charges and transfer fees must be paid by the Team.
  7. The registration fee includes an invitation for all registered Team members to all events of the Tournament including any training, the opening reception, and the award ceremony.
  8. Please note that the Organizing Committee reserves the right to cancel this event or to make minor alterations to the content and timing of the program. In the unlikely event of cancellation, paying participants will be offered a full refund. The Organizing Committee will not, however, be held responsible for any other expense or damages incurred by the participants included, but not limited to, flights, hotels, or visas.
  9. Non-payment of the Registration Fee within the time limit communicated by the Organizing Committee may lead to disqualification.
  • 18 Travel, costs, and Visas
  1. When applying, participants must ensure that they have sufficient funding to cover their travel and stay in Chicago, USA. They are responsible for making their own travel arrangements and hotel reservations.
  2. Each Team must ensure that all Team members are entitled to travel to Chicago for the Competition and, if necessary, apply for a visa in a timely manner.
  • 19 Awards
  1. The minimum of ten top individual mediators after the preliminary rounds will be recognized and awarded trophies. The top ten advocate/client pairs after the preliminary rounds will also be recognized and awarded trophies. The top ten mediation and advocate/client teams will be awarded team trophies. Special awards may be issued by INADR, School of Law: Loyola University Chicago or sponsors of the event on their discretion.
  2. Individual awards will be determined by:
    • 1. ballots won;
    • 2. margin of victory,
    • 3. total score.
  1. All individual and team trophies will be awarded during the awards ceremony. Organizers will not send trophies to participants  who did not attend the awards ceremony.
  • 20 Rules interpretation
  1. The Organizers’ interpretation of the implementation of these rules is final and conclusive. The Organizers have the right to amend  these rules of the tournament and to take such other measures as are required for the orderly conduct of the tournament.
  • 21 Mediation Training
  1. During the tournament the Organizing Committee will provide mediation training that is open to all tournament participants. (“Training Sessions”).
  2. The participants who participate in all of the Training Sessions will be entitled to the certificate of completion of the mediation training during the tournament.
  3. A detailed training program will be presented by the Organizing Committee before the start of the tournament.
  • 22 Consent to photography and videotaping
  1. Participants agree to the use of photography and videotaping and the discretionary use of all such material by the Organizers of the tournament, including, without limitation, INADR and Loyola University of Chicago. Filming by anyone else is subject to explicit permission by e INADR.
  • 23 Contact information
  1. For any inquiries please contact: