John Hutchinson Bio

John earned a BSc Engineering degree and an MBA from the University of Cape Town, and an LLB from UNISA. He is admitted as an advocate of the High Court of SA, a registered Professional Engineer, and an accredited mediator and arbitrator.

John’s interest in resolving conflict and his involvement with labour relations attracted him to Alternative Dispute Resolution to achieve results, as opposed to the adversarial practice of law. He trained with and joined the Independent Mediation Service of South Africa’s mediation panel, and for many years participated in industrial mediation.

John’s technology career diluted his engagement with law and mediation for a period, but his interest remained. More recently, he retrained with leading SA dispute resolution institutions, renewed his accreditations, and has now re-engaged with the mediation process full time.

John’s career has involved focussing on developing people and resolving conflict, job creation, technology development, and manufacturing. Inter alia, he lectured mathematics and engineering subjects, managed the successful start-up Jutastat that pioneered the publication of SA statutes and law reports in electronic format. He established the manufacturing of the world’s first wind-up radio with Freeplay Energy and developed other alternative technology focusing on humanitarian needs. He received the prestigious international Index Award: Design to Improve Life, for a fetal heart rate monitor for use in low resource settings. He developed and tested solar-power-assisted aircraft designed to transport healthcare services and vital cargo to remote communities.

John has partnered with several international organizations, eg. MIT’s OLPC on the $100 Laptop, Philips on medical equipment, and BMI on de-mining programs. With his humanitarian focus, he has engaged with a multiplicity of NGOs, UN agencies, and South African not-for-profits.

Underpinning this varied career has been a desire to make a positive difference by engaging constructively with people, and he finds his return to dispute resolution personally fulfilling. In his mediation practice, John is particularly interested in applying transformative mediation elements in his work. Transformative mediation is typically used to assist parties to improve or transform relationships.

It is, therefore, focused both on the relationship between the parties and on the specifics of the dispute.

He is on several mediations and arbitration panels and believes his experience, affinity with human nature, maturity and enthusiasm position him well to engage at all levels.