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Alternative Dispute Resolution - LAW00026H

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  • Department: The York Law School
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Stuart Bell
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

This module builds on theory and practical skills introduced and developed in Legal Skills and Advanced Legal Skills. In any week we may be undertaking a mixture of learning activities including plenaries, seminar style questions, short exercises and longer simulations. Some will need no pre-preparation but others will need individual or team prep. This is a module which relies heavily on active participation. To do this, you need to learn about the theory behind different forms of dispute resolution and about how to ‘do’ those approaches. Both parts will be emphasised. Thus, we will at different times play games, undertake short exercises and role play longer simulations. We will also read and discuss theory and research on ADR. So, if you enjoy practical application of theory in a dispute resolution context, you should enjoy the sessions. At the same time, if you enjoy developing your current understanding of negotiation and mediation theory, you should also be able to develop your knowledge and understanding of complex ADR theory.

Related modules

The pre-requisite modules are core/compulsory modules on all relevant Programmes.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2023-24

Module aims

The Module has the following aims:

  • To further develop your knowledge and understanding of the law and practice relating to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
  • To give you further opportunities to apply your knowledge and understanding of ADR through practical exercises
  • To develop your skills in ADR by giving you opportunities to undertake practical exercises
  • To enable you to reflect upon the use of ADR skills and your own personal development

Module learning outcomes

At the end of the module you should be able, through the completion of a reflective portfolio, to demonstrate:

  • a depth of knowledge and critical understanding of selected aspects of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) (MLO1)
  • an ability to use and apply that knowledge and critical understanding to relevant realistic examples of dispute resolution (MLO2)
  • the development and use of relevant skills typically used in ADR (MLO3)
  • an ability to reflect upon and critically evaluate aspects of ADR and the development of your skills (MLO4)

Module content

In general the module focuses on the theory and practice of two main forms of ADR - negotiation and mediation. We revisit some of the basic principles covered in the pre-requisite modules and then develop theoretical knowledge and understanding of more advanced theories of two- and multi-party dispute resolution contexts. We do this through active simulations and games to illustrate key advanced concepts.

Most weeks will involve a mixture of pre-session work which will include reading (around both skills and theory), reflection and preparation for games, simulations or other exercises which will take place in the following session. In our in-person sessions we will be undertaking those exercises, playing those games and discussing what happened and why? There will also be opportunities for active feedback during the session. Following the session, there will be further opportunities to build on learning with related notes to help learners embed reflective learning and further develop knowledge and understanding. In this way a cycle of learning, doing and reflection works across the module as a whole.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 90
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
N/A 10

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Reassessment is by way of submission of a revised portfolio (90%) and the submission of a short (750 Word) reflection on the strengths and weaknesses of simulated learning in terms of ADR Skills (10%). The latter is an equivalent to participation.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 90
Reflection on Simulated Learning
N/A 10

Module feedback

Formative feedback is provided to all students: (i) via feedback during learning activities (eg on specific application and development of skills and knowledge/understanding); (ii) in a formal group session to discuss ideas on portfolio submission.

Feedback on the summative assessments - both participation and the portfolio is provided in the form of comments on the assessment plus a summary of positive points and areas for further development.

Feedback will be provided within the turnaround time.

Indicative reading

Arrow, K., Mnookin, A. et al (eds), Barriers to Conflict Resolution (W.W. Norton, New York 1995)

S. Blake, A Practical Approach to Alternative Dispute Resolution (OUP, 2018)

S. Roberts and M. Palmer, Dispute Processes: ADR and the Primary Forms of Decision-Making (CUP, 2009)

Genn, H. Judging Civil Justice (Cambridge University Press 2010)

Goodman, A. Basic Skills for the New Mediator (Solomon Publications 2004)

Lewicki, R., Barry, B. & Sounders, D. (2010) Negotiation (McGraw-Hill 2010)

Mackie, K., Miles, D., Marsh, W. & Allen, T. (3rd Ed) The ADR Practice Guide: Commercial Dispute Resolution (Tottel, 2007l)
Mnookin, R. Beyond Winning: Negotiating to Create Value in Deals and Disputes (Harvard University Press, 2000)

Moffitt, M. and Bordone, R. (2005) The Handbook of Dispute Resolution (Jossey Bass, Wiley, San Francisco, 2005)

Fisher, R. & Ury, W. Getting to Yes, (Arrow, 1997)

Raiffa, H. The Art and Science of Negotiation (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1990)

Thompson, L. The Heart and Mind of the Negotiator (Pearson International Edition, 2009)

Ury, W. Getting Past No: Negotiating with difficult people (Arrow, 1992)

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.