The seminal event that led to the birth of modern dispute resolution systems was the Pound Conference in St Paul, MN, USA in April 1976. Named in honour of Roscoe Pound, the reforming Dean of Harvard Law School in the 1920s and 30s, the theme of the original Pound Conference was: Agenda for 2000AD - The Need for Systematic Anticipation.
Professor Frank E.A. Sander of Harvard Law School proposed that alternative forms of dispute resolution should be used to reduce reliance on conventional litigation, and overcome reluctance to use other dispute resolution options. This led to many changes in the US justice system, including the creation of the “multi-door courthouse” to provide more procedural choices to disputants.
Forty years later, the stakeholders in the dispute resolution field around the world are fragmented. There is a lack of reliable, comparative and actionable data to enable the supply side of the dispute resolution market to fully meet users’ needs, both locally and transnationally. This affects private persons, families, communities, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), multinationals, governments, domestic and international entities and a wide range of additional stakeholders who are involved in civil or commercial disputes.
It is time for a Global Pound Conference!
Dean, Harvard Law School 1916-1936
In August 1906 at the 29th Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association in St Paul, Minnesota, the then Dean of the University of Nebraska Law School, Roscoe Pound, gave an address entitled The Causes of Popular Dissatisfaction with the Administration of Justice. His message was that the US legal system was in need of comprehensive reform and it initiated extensive debate and reflexion.