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  3. Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution (LAWS70018)

Graduate coursework level 7Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework Level 7
Subject codeLAWS70018
Availability(Quotas apply)
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Dispute resolution and problem-solving lie at the core of modern professional life for lawyers, business people and anyone who works with more than one other person. This subject provides an overview of the range of dispute resolution techniques used internationally. This subject differentiates the most prominent dispute resolution methods, including traditional litigation, arbitration (in its many forms, including international commercial arbitration negotiation) and mediation (also in its many forms, including partnering, mini-trials and dispute resolution coordinators). It also includes skills training in negotiation and mediation, designed to increase effectiveness in both resolving disputes and enhancing problem-solving abilities.

Principal topics include:

  • The nature and varieties of disputes, how they arise and how they are avoided
  • The options for resolving disputes: litigation, arbitration, negotiation, mediation and conciliation
  • Factors considered by people when they choose a dispute resolution method, including social, cultural and economic factors
  • Relevant law reform initiatives, with an emphasis on Australia, other common law countries and selected Asian countries
  • Cross-cultural issues in the dispute resolution process
  • The roles of judges, lawyers and the courts in the alternative dispute resolution process
  • An analysis and comparison of the dispute resolution processes in environmental and native land title disputes, with an emphasis on Australia, Canada and the United States
  • Basic skills for successful negotiation and mediation, including theory and practical exercises.


Intended learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the legal and practical principles underlying both judicial and private dispute resolution systems
  • Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess different systems and make reasonable decisions about forum selection
  • Be an engaged participant in debate regarding the tension between legal rules and other more fluid systems for dispute resolution
  • Have a sophisticated appreciation of the never-ending war between textual certainty and the uncertainty of human decision-making and interactions
  • Have an advanced understanding of solutions and their benefits and limitations
  • Have a detailed understanding of negotiation strategies and tactics and how to use them in resolving disputes
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating solving complex problems between people
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research, create and analyse solution sets
  • Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding emotional disagreements, wants and needs
  • Be able demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in problem solving and dispute resolution.

Last updated: 12 September 2019