Colin is an experienced mediator and dialogue facilitator whose strong mediation skills have been honed and developed not only within the legal/business sector but also through working for the United Nations in conflict resolution and peace building. A Solicitor by training, he first practiced as a commercial litigator at a city law firm and then spending over a decade as an in-house counsel at one of the oil majors. Colin is adept at dealing with a wide range of commercial disputes and has particular experience in commercial contracts, sale of goods & services, companies & partnerships, utilities, transport, procurement, supply & trading, insurance, professional negligence and charities.
His strength as a mediator stems from a his commercial acumen, developed in-house over many years advising senior executives in the oil industry, combined with his training as a UN field officer promoting the peaceful resolution of disputes in environments affected by armed conflict. He is used to dealing with entrenched positions and high levels of personal antagonism, and has particular expertise in managing disputes where personalities may have become a major obstacle to resolution.
Colin has over 20 years experience practicing commercial law. He started his legal career at the city law firm Richards Butler (now Reed Smith LLP) as a shipping, insurance and commodity trading litigator. He then went on to join the international trading division of oil & gas company Total SA in Paris as a senior in-house counsel. He was for many years responsible for advising on complex commercial contracts and evaluating claims, the value of which ranged from relatively modest sums to millions of dollars. He managed complex multi-party disputes in London’s commercial court, as well as resolving them through arbitration and mediation. Through his work in-house at a large multi-national Colin developed an in-depth understanding of how corporates function internally and an ability to quickly identify relevant operational considerations when facilitating the resolution of commercial disputes.
After leaving Total, Colin moved into the non-profit sector. He joined the United Nations and was posted as a Rule of Law officer to Eastern Myanmar’s golden triangle, where he mediated between the police and local communities on a wide range of justice related issues. In support of Myanmar’s on-going transition from military rule he facilitated dialogue between national government officials and leaders of ethnic minority groups and lectured at the civil service training college on dialogue facilitation and mediation techniques. He also provided technical support to the office of the Attorney General and the Chief Justice, delivering training on human rights and fair trial standards to police officers, prosecutors and judges. In addition to his work with the UN, Colin has worked in war zones for the medical charity Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), including field missions to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Mozambique, the Russian Federation and India. His work for MSF has included negotiating host country agreements with national governments as well as personally leading mobile medical teams on the ground in conflict affected areas. In addition to his mediation practice, Colin continues to serve on the board of Médecins sans Frontières (UK), providing support on a wide range of legal and governance issues relating to the provision of emergency health care.