Appropriate Dispute Resolution: Theory and Practice - LAWS6260

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 6 15 (7.5) Lucinda Griffiths checkmark-circle


In recent times, 'alternative' forms of dispute resolution (ADR) have been widely recognised as possessing the potential to limit some of the damage caused by civil disputes. Therefore, a lawyer's skill-set ideally should include a well-developed ability to analyse, manage and resolve disputes both within and outside the usual setting of the courtroom. Thus, the module's primary aim is to introduce students to the legal and regulatory issues surrounding methods of dispute resolution aside from litigation. Specifically, the module focuses on the practical factors relevant to selecting appropriate dispute resolution in distinct circumstances, including, for example, the employment and family law arenas.

Students will be provided with the resources to acquire a detailed theoretical and practical understanding of the contextual constraints associated with the use of different forms of dispute resolution and will be encouraged to develop their ability to evaluate the effectiveness of particular interventions, especially when used as an adjunct to court proceedings. The module tracks historic and current developments in relation to the use of ADR, highlighting how government policy and courts appear, increasingly, to sanction failure to use ADR. This may well enhance students' opportunities to hone career-advancing expertise in the field.


Contact hours

Total study hours: 150
Contact hours: 20
Private study hours: 130


All undergraduate law programmes

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

The module will be assessed by 100%, comprising two essays:
Essay 1, 2,000 words (50%)
Essay 2, 2,000 words (50%)

Reassessment methods

The module will be reassessed by a reassessment instrument (i.e. 100% coursework). The reassessment will re-test all of the module learning outcomes.

Indicative reading

• A Practical Approach to Alternative Dispute Resolution: Susan Blake, Julie Browne & Stuart Sime, 4th ed. (Oxford University Press: 2016)
• The Jackson ADR Handbook: Susan Blake, Julie Browne & Stuart Sime (OUP, 2016)
• Dispute Processes: ADR and the Primary Forms of Decision-Making: Simon Roberts & Michael Palmer (Cambridge Online Books,
• ADR, Arbitration and Mediation: A Collection of Essays: ed. Julio Cesar Betancourt, Jason A. Crook (Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, 2014).
• Regulating Dispute Resolution: ADR and Access to Justice at the Crossroads: Felix Steffek (Editor), Hannes Unberath (Editor), Hazel Genn (Editor) (Hart Publishing, 2013)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the legal and regulatory issues surrounding dispute resolution processes, including arbitration,
mediation and conciliation.
2. Apply their knowledge to the analysis and evaluation of a complex dispute scenario, identify relevant strategies, principles, and case law, and
participate in critical debate on the issues raised.
3. Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the concepts and principles that govern the choice of the most common dispute resolution
processes, and of less usual options, including early neutral evaluation and online dispute resolution.
4. Critically evaluate the role of the lawyer in the area of civil disputing.
5. Critically analyse and evaluate the relationship between conventional forms of adjudication and engagement with ADR processes, and how
this impacts on the legal system.
6. Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the skills and attributes necessary to effectively advise and represent clients in the ADR process.
7. Identify broader social, economic and political issues underlying the developments taking place in the context of conflict resolution.
8. Identify and justify the use of different methods of conflict resolution in a variety of situations.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Undertake appropriate independent research and retrieve up to date information, using both paper and electronic sources.
2. Present a complex argument.
3. Use relevant and appropriate terminology with care, accuracy and confidence.
4.Summarise, develop and sustain an argument through the analysis of a factual scenario.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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