This is a 15 credit module taught over one term. The aim of the module is to provide students a detailed overview and an in-depth and understanding of theoretical concepts in the background of mediation, an increasingly prominent method of dispute resolution in the UK and abroad and the most widely used method of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). As its core element the module aims at enhancing students' skills necessary for a successful mediation.
Experiential and intensive small group learning will be in the forefront of this module. The module will be taught in a combination of interactive lectures, discussion seminars and experiential workshops in order to provide the suitable blend of theoretical basis and practical, phenomenological understanding of the issues involved in, and the skills and qualities required for working with individuals in conflict, with emphasis on a mediation setting (phenomenology focuses on the lived experience).
The module will explore the psychological underpinnings of conflict, conflictual behaviour and communication in-depth. Insights gained will be applied to the context of negotiation (integrative or interest-based bargaining). Concepts of and skills for an effective negotiation will be further transferred to enhance students' understanding of the dynamics of conflict resolution via mediation and develop their capacity to engage with conflicting parties in mock mediation settings.
In interactive lectures theory, concepts, policies, and competencies key to alternative dispute resolution, conflict dynamics and mediation will be introduced. The lectures will involve a range of methods, e.g. pair work, discussion, and analysis of videos of mediation processes.
In seminars discussion will be generated about theory and research output relevant to the curriculum. The concepts and findings analysed will draw on a blend of disciplines including dispute resolution, psychology and communication. Micro scenarios, exercises and the analysis of ADR video clips will be used to facilitate an in-depth understanding and set the stage for experiential learning to be continued in the workshops.
In workshops students will be engaged experientially via participation in simulations, role plays and exercises to enhance their "insider" perspective and understanding of issues implicated in the use of mediation. The workshops will explore each phase of mediation and the mediator's role at each stage in a sequence. Mediation requires development of and reflection on a range of readily transferable organisational and inter-personal communications skills. Although this module does not serve to qualify students to practice as mediators, knowledge of mediation (and ADR in general) and awareness of some of the skills and issues involved will be of significant use in many professional settings.
In order to take advantage of the results of the blended cognitive and behavioural engagement with the material it is vital that students carry out the required preparation and full-heartedly take part in the prescribed activities. Therefore, attendance and active participation are compulsory.
Due to the heightened experiential nature of the work involved in the module, experiential workshops will be held for groups of max 12 students, and the module is capped at 50 students. Should a higher number of students express interest in the module enrolment will be based on students' overall grades achieved in the previous years of their studies (L4 and L5).
In the course of future development of the clinical activity at Essex Law School there is a potential that students of this module, will have the opportunity to be exposed to real life mediations, initially as observers, as part of work of the Law and/or Mediation Clinic.
1. To familiarise students with great depth and breadth in the field of conflict dynamics and dispute resolution, including ADR theory relevant to mediation
2. To familiarise students with great depth and breadth in the mediation process and the mediator's skills, both from a practical and theoretical perspective
3. To develop understanding of the field of integrative bargaining, both from a practical and theoretical perspective
4. To develop students' skills of working with conflicting parties in mediation
5. To develop students' transferable skills mainly in the field of communication
6. To enhance students' skills necessary for becoming a self-reflective and self-aware legal practitioner
- Module Supervisor: Timea Tallodi