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Dispute Resolution - LAWS8314
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Faculty: Faculty of Law
School:  Faculty of Law
Course Outline: See below
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Postgraduate
Units of Credit: 6
EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 2
Enrolment Requirements:
Prerequisite: Academic Program must be either 9200, 9210, 5740, 9230, 9235, 5235, 9231 or 5231
CSS Contribution Charge:Band 3 (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


Most legal education in common law systems scrutinises the interpretation and development of the law via decisions made by courts in the process of litigation. This fosters the assumption that litigation, or legal advice predicting the outcome of litigation, is the normal method of resolving disputes. In fact only a small proportion of disputes are resolved by litigation and there is a growing dissatisfaction with the cost, speed and adversarial character of litigation, and a corresponding interest in alternative forms of non-adjudicative dispute resolution. This course provides students with the opportunity to identify, explore, participate in and evaluate a range of alternative forms of dispute resolution. It also requires students to identify and analyse examples of the interface between the outcomes of non-adjudicative dispute resolution processes (such as mediation) and what might be termed 'black-letter law' such as contract and revenue law.

Indicative Contact Hours per Week

Taught intensively over 4 days

LLM Specialisations

Recommended Prior Knowledge


Course Objectives

At the completion of the program, students will be able to:
  • Review the development of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) continuum and the relationship to the law and legal processes
  • Identify key processes
  • Identify and analyse their comparative advantages and disadvantages
  • Demonstrate, at a basic level, the skills involved in the key processes. Particular attention is paid to negotiation and mediation and students have the opportunity to participate in role plays using these processes.
  • Demonstrate the effective and collaborative preparation for, engagement in and review of various ADR processes

Main Topics

  • The taxonomy of ADR and introduction to the most commonly encountered processes
  • The influence of group dynamics on ADR processes
  • Tools from the Harvard Negotiation Program
  • Development of some 'rules of thumb' which enhance the application of ADR principles in a group setting
  • Other influences on the ADR process such as behavioural preferences and communication styles
  • Communication in dispute resolution and developing a communication strategy
  • Various mediation role plays and debrief of case studies


Class Participation 15%
Reflective Journal 15%
Research Essay 70%

Course Texts


  • Ury, W., Fisher, R., and Patton B., Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without giving in, 2ED, Arrow Business Books, London, 1997
  • LAWS8314 Reading Guide & Materials – to be downloaded from Blackboard.
  • Astor, H and Chinkin, C., Dispute Resolution in Australia, Butterworths, 2nd edition.
  • This text provides an excellent coverage of the field. If this is a field that interests you for the future, it is a good investment.


The course outline is available on along with a bibliography containing suggested websites and articles.

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© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.