To contact or appoint Karl Mackie, call CEDR Ireland on 01 871 7575 (NI +353 1871 7575)
Dr Karl Mackie has been working on legal/business disputes for over 30 years as a qualified barrister and pioneer in commercial dispute settlement processes. As a practising mediator for over 20 years Karl has a great wealth of experience and knowledge of how to use mediation to achieve results. His mediation and negotiation experience from his global practice covers a huge array of business sectors and issues with claims at every level up to £1 billion. Equally at home in personal employment cases as he is in complex commercial matters, Karl is highly regarded for his calm diplomacy and ability to make everyone feel at ease. Combined with a toughness when needed Karl achieves exceptional results in even most difficult negotiations. Dr Mackie was awarded the CBE for his services to mediation in 2010 and he remains the only mediator to be honoured for his work in this way.
Karl has mediated some of the most complex civil and commercial cases to go through the English legal system, including the first substantial Court of Appeal mediation (NRG), the Maxwell Pension Trusts, BCCI, Atlantic Computers and the Alder Hey retained organs litigation.
As qualified barrister, Karl specialised in dispute resolution and employment law but he began his working life as a business psychologist, before working for many years in university continuing education and as a negotiation and business strategy consultant.
Karl has been CEDR’s Chief Executive since 1990 and he has worked with numerous multinational corporations, Governments, public bodies, charities and celebrity clients during that time in Europe, the USA, Middle East, Far East, South America and Australia.
Dispute Experience Examples (up to $1bn+)
Karl has successfully mediated and designed mediation for cases across a range of sectors including a significant number of group actions, of which the following are some examples:
Banking & Finance
“Very calm and took heat out of the situation. He was quite firm too when needed. The parties were pretty entrenched but he took control of the situation”
Partner of European law firm, International tax dispute
“He was excellent. Effective. He was presented with a lack of interest from the other side, but they were making sensible offers by the end of the day. He took them out of their box. Very impressed.” US lawyer, licensing case
Construction & Engineering
Energy & Natural Resources
Entertainment, Sports, Media
Employment & Workplace
“It was a particularly difficult and high-profile case but Karl dealt with it in exactly the right way. He was a superb listener and he managed to get the confidence of our clients straight away – that was quite a feat. Karl was very persistent, which was essential in this case where the mediation continued over 5 days. Karl has great personal charm. The parties were difficult but were handled extremely well. One of the things that particularly impressed them was the fact that Karl recognised not only the importance of getting a commercial deal but also in making it defensible – this was very important in this case where a public sector body was concerned who would have to defend the deal to various other bodies.”
High profile government IT case
Partnership / Shareholder
“We were very impressed with Karl’s preparation having stepped in at the last minute. He clearly understood the issues and actually referred to certain items in the bundle in the course of the mediation.
US law firm London partner, Shareholder dispute
“It was a remarkable outcome that is very much to the clients’ satisfaction and provides them with huge peace of mind! The final result was quite staggering as far as I was concerned!”
“The pre-mediation communication was excellent... and he has been very active in his follow up…overall very professionally done by Karl”
Magic Circle Law firm partner, local authority and developer dispute
Karl also mediates under various schemes – FSA, Court of Appeal and is a member of the CPR Institute Panel of Distinguished Neutrals in New York, Singapore International Commercial Mediator Panel, and ACAS Panel of Independent Mediators and Arbitrators.
Feedback from clients regularly praises Karl for his ability to balance toughness with diplomacy as a “firm and effective" mediator who can “keep things moving without imposing”. His “calm and confident” approach “inspires trust” among his clients and his ability to “repeatedly but subtly reality test” is highly valued. With over 20 years’ experience of mediating globally Karl relates well to clients from diverse backgrounds and cultures and clients have complemented him on his ability for fast thinking, numeracy, and his capacity to master complex issues in a short time.
Feedback – Legal Directories
"An astute mediator who quickly gets to the heart of the matter," Mackie is a leading figure in the field and was awarded a CBE for his services to mediation in 2010. Interviewees highlight his "careful, considered and unobtrusive" approach to complex commercial and multiparty regulatory disputes”. “Regarded by his mediation peers as ‘one in a million’”
Chambers & Partners Guide to the Legal Profession
“Karl is one of mediation’s biggest names and, over the years has guided parties to settlement in virtually every type of dispute. With… understanding of the tensions and dynamics of a dispute, he is adept at reading the personalities present and working with them to engineer a settlement. Described as “the master” of the psychological nuances of mediation, he has a well-honed style and approach.”
The Legal 500
Feedback – Clients
“When you have what I would class as the leading mediator in the country then you know you will have no cause for complaint”
London partner of US law firm, commercial contract case
“By far a light but firm hand … totally abreast of what was on the parties' minds."
General counsel, pharmaceuticals distribution, Japanese-European contract claim
“As expected – quite forceful and we cut to the chase quicker than I had been used to and Karl played a large part in that”
Partner, regional practice probate case
“I was very happy that we managed to get past the impasse and I think that was down to Karl. He read people well and judged the situation perfectly”
Client, Pharmaceuticals contract, Scotland
“We are very pleased with the mediation, as was our client. Karl’s persistence paid off, he was firm, dogged, focused and able to ‘cut through the parties’ whinging. We also felt he was patient and forthright. We have been involved in many mediations and would definitely rate Karl at the top”
Partner, city firm, distribution agreement
“The key element was the involvement of Karl who had a great wealth of experience and knowledge. Karl knew when to bring the parties together and when to have them apart. Thought Karl was calm, pragmatic, sensible, robust, and not shy of suggesting where there could be more possibilities”
General counsel, distribution company contract
“Your calming style helped to establish the standard for behaviour and it was notable how you steered us to focus on finding a solution and away from comparing our respective interpretations of how we had reached this sad point.”
Client ICT Dispute
Author of numerous articles on mediation in the business and professional press, Karl has also co-authored leading texts in the field including The EU Mediation Atlas, The ADR Practice Guide (3rd ed.) and International Mediation- the art of business diplomacy (2nd ed.), as well as contributing two chapters in Butterworth’s Mediators on Mediation.
Regularly requested to deliver major strategic presentations on negotiation, breaking deadlock and conflict resolution, he has spoken at Law Society and Bar Council annual conferences, CBI, European Commission, Council of Europe, World Bank, and been interviewed for several radio and TV programmes including Today, Business Tonight, BBC Radio Ulster and Radio 5 live (on football manager club disputes).
Has strong experience as business consultant and in his time with CEDR, acted as Consultant or overseen consultancy to World Bank, European Commission and other international project sponsors on business and civil justice system development, with various sovereign governments and civil justice systems including India, Pakistan, Bosnia Herzegovina, China, Denmark, Holland, Qatar and others. He has also worked with various public bodies (FSA, ACAS), government departments (Business, Health, Transport, Community and Planning, Education, Overseas development, Procurement) and industry associations (railways, retail, motor manufacturers, patent and trademarks, insurance, sports etc.) in the development of dispute systems design.
Identified by The Lawyer as one of the top 100 most influential lawyers, and by The Times as “Mr Mediation”. Member of the Advisory Council of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Conflict; on the Advisory Council of Singapore Management University’s Conflict Studies Centre; Special Professor at Universities of Birmingham and Westminster; eminent Overseas Judge for 1st South Africa ADR Awards; Who’s Who and Debretts entries. Vice-Chair of Civil Mediation Council from 2004 and Chief Adjudicator of Ofsted Independent Complaints Adjudication Service since 2009.
Updated: May 2013