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The complexities of the commercial and technical environment in which construction projects are undertaken make disputes virtually inevitable. Participants in the industry – whether lawyers or industry professionals – therefore need to be aware of, and able to apply, a range of dispute avoidance and management techniques when putting together contractual documentation or administering projects. These options are constantly evolving, with recent examples including the increasing use of disputes boards and court-initiated procedures such as those being implemented by the Technology Engineering and Construction List of the Victorian Supreme Court.
The subject lecturer, David Opperman, is able to bring to the classroom extensive experience in the active resolution of disputes in construction projects by mediation and other alternative dispute resolution processes, as well as through international and domestic arbitration and litigation processes. He also involves guest lecturers who have specialist, cutting-edge experience in dispute avoidance and alternative dispute resolution techniques.
Principal topics will include:
- Construction contract provisions relating to disputes: Objectives, approaches and enforceability
- Conflict: Conflict patterns and management
- Communication and negotiation skills
- Dispute Avoidance Procedures (DAPs), Dispute Review Boards (DRBs), Dispute Adjudication Boards (DABs) and dispute resolution advisers (DRAs)
- Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): Mediation (including mock mediation), senior executive appraisal/ mini trials, non-binding and binding expert determination, domestic and international arbitration and hybrid and multi-tiered processes
- Selecting the most appropriate form of DAP and/or ADR processes
- Process dynamics, options and strategic issues, including paths to ADR.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the legal, commercial and technical aspects which lead to disputes in construction projects
- Have enhanced their expert and specialised cognitive and technical skills required to practise as interdisciplinary professionals in the construction industry
- Be familiar with, be able to critically reflect on, and be confident in applying, means of avoiding and managing construction disputes
- Be able to demonstrate the analytical and communication skills required to independently investigate, examine and synthesise existing and emerging legal issues relating to dispute avoidance and management in construction projects.
Last updated: 10 November 2023