Civil Dispute Resolution Methods

Module code: LW7006

Module co-ordinator: Professor Pablo Cortés

Module outline

The aim of this module is to enable students to obtain a critical understanding of the core principles underpinning the various dispute resolution (DR) methods. Hence, this course will cover the mainstream adjudicative and consensual DR methods, i.e. court adjudication, arbitration, negotiation and mediation. Students taking this module are expected to develop an analytical level of understanding of the different types of DR methods and the circumstances required for making these processes appropriate for resolving civil disputes. The focus on civil disputes comprises the study of formal and informal DR methods employed in the resolution of private controversies, thus excluding criminal disputes. The objective of this course is firstly to familiarise students with the general features of DR methods, their interactions and the law regulating these methods. Secondly, students are expected to develop their skills in legal research and writing while engaging with the academic literature in the field of DR. The course will cover both legal and jurisprudential materials and associated materials on dispute resolution, many of which derive from other social sciences such as sociology, anthropology and economics. Thirdly, students will be expected to reflect critically on the tension between informal and State (i.e. formal) dispute resolution and the extensive regulation of such methods.

Teaching and learning methods

Students enrolled in this course will be doing private research prior to the two-hour seminars. The first seminar will consist in a mix of lecture and seminar-style introduction. Subsequent seminars will feature a pre-distributed reading list a presentation by a group, and a presentation by the lecturer, in which a new topic will be introduced or a discussion along pre-distributed ‘issues for discussion’ (seminar sheets). The aim of this course will be to develop a critical understanding of the several dispute resolution methods.

Assessment methods

  • Element 1: 20% of the final mark will be allocated from a 1,500-2,000 word reflective log.
  • Element 2: 80% of the final mark will be allocated from 4,000 word essay (including footnotes) on chosen topic approved by the lecturers.
  • Both elements will be submitted at the end of the term. Students must pass the module overall thus they are not required to pass each assessed element separately.
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