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  • Nicola Lewis, London Mediation Works

Mediating in the face of a disaster

Dr Diego Faleck spoke last Thursday night at Kings College.

On 17th July 2007 in Brazil, an aircraft landing in Sao Paulo overran the runway, crossed a major thoroughfare during rush hour, crashed at high speed into a TAM Express warehouse adjacent to a petrol station and exploded. There were 187 people on board: 181 passengers, 19 of them TAM employees, and 6 crew members. All passengers and crew were killed in the crash, in addition to twelve people on the ground.

Dr Faleck was instrumental in working out how to deal with this for the nearest and dearest of those who died. Another fight? Another round of litigation?

Instad, Dr Faleck who at the time was chief of staff at the Secretariat of Economic Law of the Ministry of Justice, knew that the usual methods for compensating families in this situation was a long and arduous process lasting typically around 14 years. For Dr Faleck there had to be a better way. Having studied at Harvard Law School Dr Faleck had leaned about alternative ways to resolve disputes. He applied his thinking and designed a a mediation programme which had phenomenal outcomes.

The features of individual litigation (court action) he identified as

Anger – Distrust – High Expectations – Fear of Opportunistic Offers.

And after the mediation programme? The facts speak for themselves:

After Dispute resolution

  • 220 beneficiaries from 55 victims compensated

  • 90% of litigation settled

  • Increased satisfaction of the parties

  • Over 92% of the total conflict resolved in less than 2 years

Dr Faleck's message?


It is possible to solve seemingly intractable problems with a hard-headed and creative approach'

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