Keith Hollis is a mediator accredited by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) and a member of the Civil Mediation Council. He is a member of the mediation team at Canterbury Christchurch University and an associate of 1 Crown Office Row, based at their Brighton office. He also works as a lecturer and consultant in legal and judicial matters both in the UK and overseas.
He was the founder and senior partner of a successful firm of solicitors in south west London, with a broad and diverse area of practice, both domestic and commercial. The ethos of the practice was to provide a local service both to the community and to the businesses within that community, giving advice and guidance in a wide range of contentious and non-contentious matters. He was involved in the law centre movement and especially concerned with issues of access to advice and to the courts, and extra judicial means of dispute resolution by means of negotiation and mediation. He was a member of a working party on access to justice for the legal charity, Justice.
Keith Hollis left private practice in 1992 and from then until 2013 sat as a full time judge when he retired to develop his other interests and activities. From 1992 he was a District Judge working in the County Courts. From 2000 until March 2013 he sat as a Circuit Judge in civil and family courts in Kent and Sussex. For three years up to 2012 he was the Diversity and Community Relations Judge for Sussex.
For ten years until 2009 he was the Director of Studies for the Commonwealth Magistrates’ & Judges’ Association and was responsible for devising and running their wide programme of activities. These have included programmes in alternative dispute resolution, human rights, economic development, the advancement of judicial training, civil procedure, diversity and minority rights, environmental protection, and the development of a Commonwealth anti corruption programme for judges and magistrates. He has been responsible for, or has assisted in, programmes in these and other areas in many different parts of the Commonwealth.
He has carried out extensive work on the Commonwealth (Latimer House) Principles on Judicial Independence and Parliamentary Sovereignty, and for some years has been a member of the Latimer House Working Group. He was deputy chair of the papers committee for the 2005 Commonwealth Law Conference in London. He has recently worked as a consultant for the Commonwealth Secretariat on judicial training issues. He has regularly lectured on legal matters in different parts of the Commonwealth and been called upon to chair or to lead Commonwealth judicial and other programmes.
His main professional interest has been in environmental and housing law. He started in practice acting as a solicitor for the Banabans of Ocean Island in the Pacific in their actions against the UK Government and others arising from the environmental degradation of their homeland island by phosphate mining. In recent years he has been involved with the United Nations Environment Programme in their development of a judicial bench book and a judicial training module on international environmental law. He has participated in a number of legal training programmes on international environmental issues.
Keith has lived and worked within the legal world for 45 years and has a strong commercial background, having established and developed his own legal practice. As a result of his experiences both as a practitioner and as a judge he is convinced that mediation in most cases is the best and most proportionate way of resolving disputes, both commercial and domestic, and has now commenced on a third career, both promoting and practising mediation.