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LAWS5109 Dispute Resolution

6 points
(see Timetable)
Non-standard teaching periodUWA (Perth)Face to face
Despite the fact that only a very small percentage of cases proceed to trial, legal education has traditionally emphasised adversarial dispute resolution processes. Yet there are numerous ways for people to resolve their disputes without recourse to lawyers and courts, and now the legal fraternity is embracing these deeper ways of dealing with conflict. This unit explores several methods of dispute resolution as a comparison to litigation and aims to seek a balance between the uses of the different forms. It investigates the various dispute resolution processes including negotiation, mediation, arbitration and mixed processes, to gain familiarity with the processes, rudimentary skills in using them and some experience in choosing the most appropriate process to use to resolve a particular dispute.

Students are able to (1) analyse the nature and cause of disputes; (2) understand the various forms of dispute resolution including litigation and how they work in practice; (3) advise clients on the appropriate use of different dispute resolution methods; (4) understand how to engage in constructive negotiation, mediation and arbitration; and (5) critically evaluate and research the various issues that arise in ADR practice.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate an understanding of (a) the dynamics of conflict, litigation and disputes; and (b) the theories and practice of negotiation, mediation, arbitration, litigation and hybrid dispute resolution processes to an advanced level. Students also demonstrate a developing understanding of the theory and practice associated with international dispute resolution; and the broader legal and social contexts in which legal disputes arise; (2) demonstrate an appreciation of contemporary developments in the dispute resolution field, including the law and practice; (3) demonstrate an appreciation of the lawyer's role in appropriate and ethical dispute resolution; (4) recognise and critique the lawyer's role in dispute resolution and the practical and ethical considerations arising in professional practice; (5) exercise professional judgement in relation to appropriate dispute resolution and what might best serve the client and the community; (6) identify and articulate legal issues arising in dispute resolution; (7) diagnose a dispute and advise the parties on the appropriate dispute resolution process(es); (8) demonstrate cognitive and creative skills in approaching a dispute and assessing the various dispute resolution processes available; (9) demonstrate an ability to interpret socio-legal research that identifies and evaluates the theoretical underpinnings of dispute resolution and how current policies seek to address these; (10) interview clients and advise parties of a dispute as to the appropriate dispute resolution process; and (11) plan, prepare and engage in case simulation exercises and reflect upon performance and the experience.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) research and reflective journal; (2) group presentation; and (3) in-class test. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Jill Howieson
Unit rules
LAWS4101 Foundations of Law and Lawyering
LAWS4105 Dispute Resolution
Contact hours
Students must attend every day of the intensive period 8-19 February. Refer to the timetable for exact class times.
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.