27 September 1940 – 27 February 2023
It is with deep regret and sadness that FICA announces the passing of its founder and long-time chair, Ben Beaumont, following a long illness. Ben’s life and career were dedicated to serving others and promoting the peaceful and efficient resolution of disputes. In his own words, he was “obsessed with using alternatives to litigation.” He will be sorely missed by this organization and all those individuals with whom he worked throughout his long life, his many friends, and of course his family.
Ben was a highly-accomplished, high-profile barrister, chartered surveyor and dispute resolution professional. He was called to the Bar by the Inner Temple in 1978. He was both a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, amongst other fellowships and recognitions awarded him by organisations from around the world during his lifetime.
Ben started his career inauspiciously as a bricklayer’s assistant at the age of 17, working his way up to become a steel fixer before becoming a shuttering carpenter. He started working as a building contractor while reading for the Bar. After being called to the Bar, Ben focused on dispute resolution, gaining extensive experience in England and internationally as a mediator, arbitrator, adjudicator and facilitator. He lectured and trained future dispute resolvers extensively and was a widely-published author. He was firmly of the view that disputes should be resolved, whether by mediation or arbitration, by listening.
Ben was the founding chair of the Thames Valley Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and was an elected member of its Council from 1982 to 1987. In 1996 he founded FICA. Its chair until recently, Ben first provided training to various professionals in Zambia and most recently in 2021, to individuals selected by six Balkan States to receive training in investor-state dispute settlement procedures. Through his efforts, in 2002 FICA was invited to participate as an observer in the work and deliberations of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law’s (UNCITRAL) various working groups. He was active in several working groups, particularly until very recently the efforts of Working Group II to develop model laws or rules for adjudication of disputes. He also worked with the International Trade Centre as a member of its model contract drafting team.
Only four weeks ago, Ben was giving evidence to a House of Commons Select Committee on the possible application of the arbitration process to landlord/tenant disputes in the UK. He also was involved in a number of projects to develop university and NHS land sites to release further for further expansion.
Ben was involved with various charitable/voluntary activities throughout his life, including the Pheasantry Preservation Trust and more recently, as trustee and later chair of the East Oxford Community Centre and as a trustee of Sunrise Organisation Banbury. He was a member of the Athenaeum Club in London, where he co-founded the Film Club and was an active member of the Bridge Club for many, many years.
FICA would not be the organisation it is today but for Ben’s indefatigable hard work. His sharpness of mind, generosity and passion for life will be sorely missed. FICA extends its deepest sympathies and condolences to Ben’s family.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” “May flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest.”
Requiescat in pace, Ben Beaumont.