KLS students place in the top 10 of the National Student Negotiation Competition 2024

Two undergraduate law students at Kent Law School reached the national finals of the National Student Negotiation Competition for England and Wales 2024, hosted by CEDR (Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution), held at the University of Law, Moorgate in March 2024.

The Kent team consisted of Tilly Webster and Charley Weston, both final year students on the LLB Law course at Kent Law School. They were coached by Senior Lecturer in Law, Johanne Thompson.

For over ten years, CEDR in collaboration with the University of Law, has organised and sponsored this competition. Teams of law students around England and Wales compete against each other in order to find the best English and Welsh team to represent both England and Wales at the International Negotiation Competition.  This year’s competition consisted of three regional finals – two in person (London and Leeds) and one online. From 48 teams, the top 12 teams progressed to the national final.

The top teams faced three challenging scenarios in the final which tested different sets of negotiation skills.  The premise of one of the scenarios involved a runway on the island of Gozo. The competitors had to control the process, demonstrate the ability to handle the relationships between competing parties and explore the interests of each party to facilitate a deal. There was also a complex negotiation between a trade union and a train company who were threatening to strike and lastly a scenario where the teams had to negotiate a sponsorship deal for two young media-obsessed clients.

This competition aims to find the most effective negotiators who gather information during the negotiation, make good use of active listening whilst strategising and propose a range of potential offers.  At times, they also had to maintain areas of confidentiality as instructed by their briefs.  As Frank Eijkman (CEDR organiser) stated: “It was a pleasure to see so many talented young lawyers displaying the skills needed to be a negotiator, understanding the process and effectively deploying vital softer skills.

Speaking about her experience, Tilly says that her ‘…negotiation experience has been nothing but positive! From taking the negotiation module in my final year at university to gain some extra skills alongside my degree I would never have imagined that I would be competing in the negotiation final. As apprehensive as I was to compete in the CEDR competition, I have found this experience to have been exciting, enjoyable and useful. Not only have I gained transferrable skills from this experience, but I had the opportunity to network and make new friends along the way. I would recommend this opportunity to other students and to step outside your comfort zone as you may do better than you think, just like myself!’

Johanne Thompson (convenor of the Negotiation module) was thrilled to support the Kent team in the prestigious competition.  She explains that: ‘this competition offers law students an excellent opportunity to test their negotiation skills.  These skills are becoming increasingly important for legal practice, especially as the courts are looking for legal disputes to be resolved without recourse to litigation.  Skills in negotiation and mediation are the way forward for any future lawyers.’