Module Catalogue 2024/25

LAW3052 : Mediation and Commercial Dispute Resolution

LAW3052 : Mediation and Commercial Dispute Resolution

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Bryan Clark
  • Owning School: Newcastle Law School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



This class is concerned with the resolution of commercial and other civil disputes especially through the means of mediation. Students will be introduced to the process of mediation, the role of the mediator and learn some key skills required in the resolution of disputes by this method.

The class shall also examine the interaction between mediation and the law and legal process, in particular looking at such issues as confidentiality, incentives to mediate, adversarialism and civil justice and the role of judges and lawyers within the process. The class considers recent reviews of civil justice for their impact on mediation, the influence that mediation and settlement have held for civil justice as well as critiques of mediation’s ‘institutionalisation’ from the UK and abroad. This module also examines the development of a mediation profession and explores issues such as training, continuous professional development, accreditation and regulation. Finally the role of the lawyer in mediation from the perspective of dispute forum selector and acting as a party advocate and negotiator in the process is explored.

Outline Of Syllabus

Introduction to Mediation – history, development and main facets of the process
Mediation skills, styles and techniques
Civil Justice – the nature and importance of civil justice; main features of formal justice processes, trends in civil justice reviews, critiques
Mediation and formal civil justice – trends and critiques
Lawyers’ relationship with Mediation – resistance, capture and appropriateness – the role of legal education,
Lawyer advocacy – the role of lawyers in mediation - the new ‘advocacy’ and non-adversarial behaviour
Current themes in mediation and formal civil justice – regulation, ODR, confidentiality, mandatory mediation, enforcing mediated outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By the end of the module, students will have acquired knowledge and understanding of:

The process of mediation, its potential benefits and drawbacks and utility in different dispute contexts
The key skills and attributes of mediators
Fundamental mediation techniques
The nature and purpose of civil justice
The modern interaction between mediation and civil justice in England and Wales and in other jurisdictions
The legal regulation of different facets of the mediation process including confidentiality, compelling participation and enforcement of outcome
The role of the lawyer in resolving their clients’ disputes including an appreciation of the different interests of commercial clients
The role of the lawyer within mediation acting as a party advocate

Intended Skill Outcomes

Students should also be able to:
o       produce an accurate synthesis of relevant policy issues in relation to a topic and to make a critical judgment of the merits of particular arguments
o       demonstrate an ability to act independently in planning and undertaking research and reflect meaningfully on his or her own learning, including seeking and making use of feedback.
o       demonstrate an advanced level of skill in constructive criticism and analysis by presenting a sustained argument in a well-structured piece of work.
o       Demonstrate via role play an understanding of the role of lawyers and mediators in the mediation process
o       produce electronically submitted coursework in appropriate form and style

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture181:0018:00Present in person
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion701:0070:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical11:001:00Skills practice session
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching51:005:00Present in person
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00In person or remote at student request
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study197:0097:0072 hours own reading 25 hours reading for seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time61:006:00non-synchronous online material
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The principal method of teaching shall be lectures with 18 held over the course of the semester. Some of the lectures are likely to be more interactive than is standard with student led group work undertaken (where class size and facilities permit). The purpose of lectures is to provide students with a solid grounding in specific, relevant concepts, rules and ideas. Learning from what worked well in the pandemic the lectures shall be supplemented by non-synchronous online material including short recorded lectures, videos and podcasts and interactive activities.

The purpose of seminars is to allow students to test and deepen their understanding of particular concepts and ideas and develop their analytical and cognitive skills in the context of the close analysis of specific issues and texts. They also offer an opportunity for detailed discussion of issues covered in the lectures, and for developing and practicing essential legal skills of source synthesis and evidence- and research-based argument, as well as for giving feedback on student progress. In some seminars students will be required to prepare and deliver practical exercises including role plays in the area of mediation and mediation advocacy.

A number of drop in sections shall be made available operating either in person and/or over ZOOM

Put together, the lectures and seminars will encourage an active, integrated approach to study, develop critical thinking and allow for the development of new skills and techniques.

Independent study on this module will include directed reading in advance of lectures, consolidation following lectures, and preparation for seminars. Students in seminars will be expected to critically engage with material in a manner consonant with level 3 study.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination01A65N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prof skill assessmnt1M35In the mediation area, for example, a mediator introduction or mediation advocate's opening statement
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The class shall be assessed by a combination of different techniques. The exam shall require the students to display a breadth of awareness as well as discuss topics in a critical, analytical manner. The professional skills element shall seek to assess some fundamental techniques as well as appropriate presentational skills in the context of mediation and/or mediation advocacy.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


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The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2024 academic year.

In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described.

Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2025/26 entry will be published here in early-April 2025. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.