Law student is world’s number one

17 April 2016

Josiah Raphael has won an international mediation competition in Chicago

A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) undergraduate is the world’s best student mediator.

Josiah Raphael won first place in the Best Individual Mediator category at the International Mediation Competition, held recently in the United States of America.

The 22-year-old, who is in his third year of a Master of Laws degree at the Preston Campus, beat off stiff global competition from 155 fellow legal students to claim the top prize. His honour follows on from his success in the UK National Mediation Competition where he collected a trophy for Best Party prize and was part of the group which claimed the Best Team title.

Josiah, from Chiswick, said: “It's not fully sunk in yet that I’m the best student mediator in the world. I'm an extremely competitive person and I thought I should have done better at the nationals, so there was some personal redemption for me to accomplish this in the US, the home of mediation.”

"It's not fully sunk in yet that I’m the best student mediator in the world."

During the competition Josiah and his fellow contestants, some of whom came from Zimbabwe, Ukraine, Singapore and India, took part in practical client/advocate/mediator tests and they were assessed throughout. For one element of the competition Josiah was paired with a student from Toronto and had one hour to work together on their mediation strategy.

He said: “Although we agreed on some things, we disagreed on plenty. You have little to no time to prepare yourself, but also to iron out disagreements so it all flows smoothly. It's a nightmare dynamic as you are working together, but competing at the same time. It’s not my style to prepare too much, I find improvising more natural, and I think it played out well in this instance.”

The six UCLan students who travelled to Chicago were coached by Senior Law Lecturer Emma McAndry. Josiah said: “Before the national competition, Emma knew I had no experience but she trusted me and I feel this is my first step in paying her back. She has done an incredible job in setting up the UCLan Centre for Mediation and training us all.”

Josiah added: “I also want to thank Charlotte Hurst and Mathew Smith, my wonderful teammates - I couldn't ask for anyone better. I'm an obsessive perfectionist and can be a nightmare to deal with at the best of times, they put up with me for longer than anyone should have to - next year I want us clutching that award for best team. Also it really was amazing to meet so many talented students from around the world, they made it a real pleasure.”

Emma added: “I am immensely proud of Josiah. In training, he was like a sponge - he really listened, absorbed and then translated the skills into practice. He is also clearly a natural talent at mediating and it was a privilege to train him.”