1. Handbook
  2. Subjects
  3. Mediation
  4. Print

Mediation (LAWS90039)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

You’re viewing the 2019 Handbook:
Or view archived Handbooks


Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeLAWS90039
Availability(Quotas apply)
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Mediation has developed over the past twenty years from the legal fringes to become the process which resolves more legal disputes than any other. The aim of this course, building on concepts studied in the JD compulsory subject LAWS90140 Disputes and Ethics (formerly LAWS50027 Dispute Resolution), is to develop an understanding of what takes place within the private confines of mediation to make the process effective, and how the different participants interact.

Students will learn both the practice of mediation, through extensive involvement in simulations, and develop a sophisticated understanding of current mediation law and theory.

The subject will examine when and how mediations take place, the roles of all persons involved, the legal frameworks supporting and promoting mediation, and the interaction of mediation with other dispute resolution mechanisms. It will provide an overview of mediation in specific legal contexts, such as commercial litigation and family law, and look in detail at a number of statutory mediation schemes such as the Farm Debt Mediation Act 2011 (Vic.). It will examine mediation as a career within the broader legal landscape and the evolution of the National Mediator Accreditation Scheme.

Teaching will be through a combination of lectures on specific topics, interactive exercises and mediation simulations, and contributions by visiting speakers with specific expertise.

Intended learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject will have an advanced and integrated understanding of the role of mediation in resolving disputes, and will be able to: 

  • Understand and apply the main theories related to mediation as a form of conflict resolution;
  • identify at what point in a dispute, mediation is likely to be effective;
  • make an informed decision about what style of mediation suits the specific nature of a dispute and the parties;
  • recognise the stages of a typical mediation, and understand how they can be adapted to changing dynamics when appropriate;
  • facilitate a discussion which assists a disputant to understand better their own best interests and how to achieve them;
  • understand the balance between mediators catalysing a useful negotiation and becoming too directive;
  • develop their legal skills to act as advocate and adviser for a party at mediation; and
  • understand the legal framework of mediation accreditation in Australia and mediation trends internationally.

Generic skills

This course will assist students to develop further the following skills:

  • Analytical problem solving – through case study exercises to determine options and alternatives at mediation;
  • advocacy- recognising that mediation has a different decision-making approach to litigation, so requires a different style of advocacy;
  • judgement under pressure – mediation is about making decisions rather than submitting to judgement;
  • coordination of a support team – understanding and maximising the teamwork of parties, solicitors, barristers, experts and other participants and the mediator;
  • communication in emotionally difficult situations – recognising and dealing with the stress of conflict;
  • tactical negotiation – acknowledging that mediation can become a tactical game, and how to play it; and
  • understanding where mediation fits within a broader dispute – seeing mediation in the broader context of legal issues and other practical considerations.

Eligibility and requirements


Successful completion of all the below subjects:

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
LAWS50023 Legal Method and Reasoning
Summer Term
LAWS50024 Principles of Public Law
Semester 1
LAWS50025 Torts
Semester 1
LAWS50026 Obligations
Semester 1
LAWS50027 Dispute Resolution 12.5



Non-allowed subjects

Students who have completed any of the below subjects are not permitted to take LAWS90039 Mediation:


Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home


Additional details

  • Participation in in-class mediation simulations and class discussion (10%)
  • 1,500-word take-home exam case study asking for advice on alternatives and options in a hypothetical mediation (30%)
  • 4,000-word research paper on a topic agreed with the subject coordinator (60%)

The due dates of the above assessment will be available to students via the Assessment Schedule on the LMS Community.

Quotas apply to this subject

Dates & times

  • Semester 1
    Principal coordinatorAndrew Moffat
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours36 hours
    Total time commitment144 hours
    Teaching period 4 March 2019 to 2 June 2019
    Last self-enrol date15 March 2019
    Census date31 March 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail10 May 2019
    Assessment period ends28 June 2019

    Semester 1 contact information

    Email: law-aso@unimelb.edu.au
    Phone: +61 3 8344 4475
    Website: law.unimelb.edu.au

Additional delivery details

This subject has an enrolment quota of 30 students. Your subject enrolment will not be confirmed until the selection process has been run. Selection is conducted on a random basis with outcomes communicated to students shortly after re-enrolment closes. Please refer to the Melbourne Law School website for more information on the JD Quota Elective selection process.

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    • Specialist materials will be made available from Melbourne Law School.
  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 12 September 2019