Our Board

Our Board comprises members drawn from Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. Board members, on a voluntary basis, dedicate their skills, efforts and time to guide the organisation.

Russell Thirgood (Chair)

Russell Thirgood is a chartered arbitrator who specialises in resolving complex commercial disputes.

Prior to becoming a full-time arbitrator, Russell spent 23 years at a national law firm, where he was partner and head of arbitration.

He was awarded the 2022 Australian Arbitrator of the Year by Australasian Law Awards.

Russell is also an expert determiner, dispute board member and NMAS accredited mediator.

He is the current chair of the Resolution Institute.

Julia Hennessy (Vice Chair)

Julia has been a practising social worker and senior manager in the social sector for more than twenty years. She has led various projects in the United Kingdom and introduced Family Group Conference and Restorative Justice practices into mainstream UK service delivery.

As General Manager of Family Works, Presbyterian Support Central, a not for profit agency she oversees delivering social services in the lower North Island and in her role includes working with Family Works staff and partnering with government agencies such as the Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Justice, Department of Corrections, community groups, and government ministers.

Siddharth Soin (Treasurer and Secretary)

Sid is a chartered accountant and partner at Belay Advisory with over 15 years in public practice. He specialises in Private Family Groups, Multi-Family Office, Corporate Structuring, Due Diligence and Business Valuations.

Philip Argy

Philip Argy is an experienced lawyer, mediator and arbitrator. He specialises in intellectual property, science, technology and competition law and has been a computer buff for more than 50 years as well as being an experienced programmer.

Philip left Mallesons Stephen Jaques (now King and Wood Mallesons) at the end of 2007 after being with the firm for almost 32 years (24 of them as a partner). He established ArgyStar.com in January 2008 to evangelise and implement dispute resolution strategies in the IT sector, and was one of the first mediators to become nationally accredited under the NMAS when it was established.

He holds Resolution Institute accreditations in Arbitration (Grade 1) and Expert Determination, and maintains his eponymous law firm as well as being a Consulting Principal to Keypoint Law.

Mieke Brandon

Mieke Brandon AM, (BA MSc (App)) became a community mediator in 1989 and a family mediator in 1993. She is accredited under the National Mediators Accreditation System (NMAS) and is a registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner. In the past, Mieke has worked for several organisations and universities as a trainer, coach and NMAS assessor.

She has written many articles for peer reviewed journals and is co-author of Brandon and Fisher, Mediating with Families (4th ed. Thomson Reuters 2018) and Brandon and Robertson, Conflict and Dispute Resolution, a guide to manage dispute resolution in the workplace, (Oxford University Press 2007).

In 2017 Mieke and Linda Kochanski won the ADC Project Award and in 2018 with Linda Fisher the William J. Kreidler Award, Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR).

Mieke has been a dispute resolution practitioner, supervisor and mentor for over 30 years, and in 2021 was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for her contribution to dispute resolution and mediation.

Paula Bruce

Paula is a lawyer with over 20-years mediation experience. Her legal career spans workplace relations, family law/FDR and training. She has 15-years of experience managing dispute resolution services. Her tertiary qualifications include law, psychology, post-graduate management, mediation and Family Dispute Resolution. She is a qualified Collaborative Lawyer and Children’s Lawyer.

Paula has managed pilot mediation projects at local courts in NSW and at the Federal Magistrates Court Parramatta. She has conducted research into family violence and workplace mediation and has assisted with research into culturally reflexive mediation. She has spoken widely on her research and developed models of practice for organisations to reflect the findings.

Paula is a long-term member of Resolution Institute. Since 2016 she has worked hard leading and contributing to support members through Resolution Institute facilitative committees, mostly as chair.

Deborah Dunn

Deborah has a long relationship with mediation and with governance and strategy so to be able to bring them together she feels is a privilege.

Having trained in mediation in the mid-nineties she soon established her business and over the last 25 years has facilitated a few thousand mediations, mostly workplace matters with the majority centred on workplace bullying.

She undertook a graduate diploma in narrative therapy, completing the two year learning in 1999, and has since developed and practiced a framework informed by narrative philosophies and practices.

Over this 25 years, Deborah has held several board appointments including chair of a family violence service. This interest in governance, compliance and strategy stems from post graduate learning in company secretarial law and practice and an appointment as a company secretary.

Deborah looks forward to taking these knowledges and experiences into her new role as a director of the Resolution Institute in ways that serve its members and dispute resolution.

Dr Hanna Jaireth

Dr Hanna Jaireth’s mediation practice mainly concerns workplace, community and commercial disputes, and she conducts NMAS assessments for the Conflict Resolution Service (ACT). In 2022 Hanna joined the Regional Investment Corporation as a casual policy specialist.

Hanna was accredited under NMAS in 2014 and she holds PhD, MA(Pol & IR) and BA/LLB(Hons) qualifications from the ANU.

In 2020 Resolution Institute awarded Hanna the Michael Klug Award for her farm debt mediation work. Conflict resolution and legal issues were part of Hanna’s public sector employment for many years, including as a farm debt mediation officer, academic researcher, tribunal member, and parliamentary inquiry secretary. Hanna has served on several national boards and committees. Her resume and publications list are accessible at:

Wi Pere Mita

Wi Pere affiliates to Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki, Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Maniapoto iwi.

He is a lawyer, mediator and consultant with over 10 years' experience in governance and law. He is a member of the Institute of Directors and holds a number of directorships and governance roles in the commercial, not-for-profit and private sectors.

Wi Pere has practice experience in the areas of intellectual property, commercial law, HR, media, broadcasting & entertainment law and Māori legal issues.

Karene Primrose

LLB (Hons), BA (Phil), MAICD

Karene Primrose is a lawyer with over 20 years’ experience in litigation and general dispute resolution.

She is also an accredited mediator under the National Mediation Accreditation Standards, having initially trained with LEADR and subsequently competed the Advanced Mediation programme at Harvard University and Resolution Institute’s Conciliator programme.

Relevantly, Karene is appointed to a number of Commonwealth and state alternative dispute resolution schemes as a mediator and conciliator, in addition to conducting her private practice and serving on a number of boards. She is also appointed as a Senior Sessional Member of the WA State Administrative Tribunal and serves on the WA Law Society’s ADR Committee and its Ethical Guidance Panel, providing guidance to members of the legal profession in relation to ethical issues.

Karene continues to be personally recognised annually as a leading mediator in Doyles Guide and Best Lawyers.

Toby Shnookal

Toby is an Australian KC, who is also qualified and experienced as an engineer and international arbitrator.

His primary practice is as determiner of disputes. He has published over 60 Determinations across Australia. He practices as arbitrator, expert determiner and adjudicator. He also practices as mediator and facilitator of expert conclaves.

Toby has a strong commitment to the speed and efficiency of expedited determinative processes and has developed his skill to achieve this. He regards the understanding of expert reports as fundamental to coming to grips with any technology dispute.

Toby has been in the construction industry for 40 years and a lawyer involved in building, engineering and technology disputes for 30 years.

He is a Grade 1 Arbitrator with Resolution Institute, a FCIArb and a published author both of construction law text and numerous articles relevant to expert determination.