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Mediation: Principles and Practice (LAWS90113)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeLAWS90113
Availability(Quotas apply)
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Mediation has become the likely forum for the resolution of most disputes – whether convened voluntarily, by contract, statute or court order – but its inherent confidentially makes it hard for outsiders to understand fully.

This subject will cover the majority of the material required for Accreditation under the National Mediator Accreditation Scheme (NMAS), but also recognise that mediation needs to be understood by all involved, not just future mediators. In light of this, it will examine the roles of solicitors and barristers, other advisers and experts, and the parties themselves. It will do this through teaching by Andrew Moffat, who regularly mediates commercial disputes in Melbourne and Sydney, supplemented by guest lecturers who fill these roles in mediations.

It also recognises that mediation is – and must maintain – a uniquely flexible process capable of very different approaches based on the context of the dispute. Guest lecturers who are expert practitioners in other dispute contexts will share their insights.

Students will develop a sophisticated understanding of current mediation theory and practice, and learn to put this learning into practice as mediators and mediation participants, through extensive involvement in simulations. Finally, students will learn about the mediation industry and the business and career elements of developing a mediation practice.

Successful completion of this subject, and a complete attendance record to all sessions, is expected to be credited for 60 per cent of National Mediator Accreditation Scheme training, under the auspices of the Resolution Institute, which will offer students the opportunity to study the remaining 40 per cent required for NMAS accreditation.

Principal topics include:

  • Mediation within the broader context of dispute resolution
  • Moving from positions to interests
  • Standard NMAS mediation model
  • Key concepts – voluntariness and empowerment
  • Triggers for mediation – optimising timing where possible
  • Mediator skills and when and how to intervene
  • Changing dynamics in joint sessions
  • Mandatory mediation as public policy
  • Typical participants and their roles
  • Alternatives and options in private sessions
  • NMAS Approval and Practice Standards
  • Setting the scene – the opening statement
  • Mediation challenges – complexity and ethical issues
  • Optimising mediation in cross-cultural disputes
  • Mediation as a career.

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
  • Know 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
  • Use their legal skills to act as advocate and adviser for a party at mediation
  • Understand the legal framework of mediation accreditation in Australia and mediation trends internationally.

Last updated: 14 September 2019