Roderick O’Driscoll was articled under Baron Silkin of Dulwich (the Rt. Hon. Lewis Silkin) in 1957. He qualified as a solicitor of the Supreme Court and became a partner in Lewis Silkin & Partners in 1962.
In the late 1960s Rod left London with his wife Elizabeth, also a solicitor, and together they set up their own firm in Maidstone, Kent. For over 30 years he specialised in commercial, industrial and building disputes, principally in the High Court. In 1970 he was appointed as a Notary Public. Rod was a practising advocate in the magistrates, county courts and Official Referee’s Court with experience of the Court of Appeal and House of Lords.
He was closely involved in the Official Referee’s Court (now Technology and Construction Court) as an advocate and instructing solicitor relating to disputes concerned with construction matters, and amongst his many memberships of professional associations was an Honorary Life Member of the Institute of Clerk of Works. During the course of his career Rod built up a significant and loyal client base, ranging from individual disputes to high-profile international cases, acting for some of the world’s major international corporations.
In 2001 Rod joined as a senior consultant at Gulland & Gulland in Kent, where he established and headed the south-east’s first specialised construction and arbitration department.
Rod’s real passion was in arbitration and mediation. He became a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in 1991 and an accredited mediator in 1996. He was involved in arbitrating several hundred domestic and international cases, with a particular focus on those involving commercial, construction and engineering issues. He was also actively involved as a mediator, receiving both private and court appointments, and was a founder member of the Mediation Group of the south-eastern branch of the CIArb.
Rod was immensely generous with his time and expertise, and over the last 10 years he ran numerous courses for the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and across Higher Education in all forms of alternative dispute resolution. He was still acting as a tutor and mentor, right up until his death earlier this month.
Above all, Rod was a man of great charm and civility. He was known to regale conferences with accomplished performances on a grand piano, drawing upon his fondness for the 19th-century romantic period repertoire. He will be enormously missed by his colleagues, clients and friends, both here in Kent and throughout the ADR community.