Introduction

This programme is unique. Unlike many other programmes on dispute resolution, it does not seek to combine a substantive subject with dispute processes; it focusses only on those methods best placed to resolve disputes. It is dedicated to dispute resolution methodology. The non-court dispute resolution industry is vibrant and growing as organisations and individuals seek to resolve their disputes outside the often adversarial, public, slow and expensive litigation process.

This programme will enhance the skills of those involved in negotiating disputes across a range of sectors, including: commercial, employment, consumer, family. The trouble is that most professionals are not natural negotiators and need to learn the essential techniques and theories to ensure that the best result can be secured. The negotiation courses will help anyone who has to negotiate disputes with colleagues or on behalf of a client, for themselves or for an employer.

Mediation is becoming increasingly popular too across the commercial, family, employment, consumer, education, public sector and civil court arenas as well as in many complaints procedures. Its efficiency and potential to reduce costs, particularly those associated with litigation and formal processes, mean it is now widely seen as a cost effective and successful process. This programme will equip those who wish to become mediators, or who plan to refer clients to mediation services, with the skills and techniques to do so. These skills and techniques build on those employed by good negotiators, but from a different perspective. Employers or line managers will find that mediation techniques will enable them to better handle disagreements among staff, as well as difficult discussions.

Arbitration, whether in domestic or international disputes, is a very important option, especially (although not exclusively) in commercial cases. Although it is an adjudicative process, leading to a binding decision, it differs significantly from litigation in a number of key respects, not least its flexibility, its use of decision-maker expertise and its confidentiality. This programme highlights those differences, and students will learn how to prepare for arbitration hearings, how to present cases in an arbitral tribunal and how to arbitrate a case through to a decision.

Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
Online Learning
Degree Qualification
LLM or PgCert
Duration
1 Year / 2 Years, 4 Months
Study Mode
Part Time
Start Month
September or January

Study Options

We offer flexible ways to study. Expand the sections below to find out more about our exit points for Dispute Resolution.

As alternatives to the General Route, we also offer specialist pathways through this programme, allowing you to concentrate on your chosen discipline: negotiation, mediation or arbitration, to suit your interests and your career aspirations.

If you have any questions about which route you should choose, please email us for expert advice.

LLM

  • Study Options:
    • 2 Years, 4 Months (Part Time) · Online Learning · September
    • 2 Years, 4 Months (Part Time) · Online Learning · January
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Year 1

Compulsory Courses

Legal Principles - Credits: 30

This course covers the basic principles of law which are applicable in negotiation, mediation and arbitral practice. The course is divided into 15 topics covering: Legal System and Sources, Contract Law, Reparation Law (Tort/Delict), Aspects of Civil Evidence. These subjects are taught from a UK perspective, providing a grounding in common law jurisprudence in these areas. The following topics are examples of those included in this course:

The Legal System of the UK

Sources of Law

Formation of Contract

Interpretation of Contracts

Breach of Contract

Remedies for Breach of Contract

Duty of Care in Tort/Delict

Breach of Duty of Care

Causation and Remoteness of Damage

Burden and Standard of Proof in Civil Cases

Evidential Rules around Testimony

Expert Evidence

Privilege and Confidentiality

View detailed information about this course

Negotiation Skills - Credits: 30

The vast majority of disputes and differences of a civil, that is, non-criminal nature are resolved before one of the parties commences legal proceedings, be they by application for resolution by a court, arbitration or mediation. Somewhere between 85% and 95% of those disputes and differences are resolved before the commencement of the hearing of the legal proceedings by the court or arbitration tribunal or the mediation proper.

View detailed information about this course

Year 2

Compulsory Courses

Mediation Theory and Practice - Credits: 30

This course offers students the opportunity to study the theory of mediation and to develop their skills in mediation practice. The course is designed to enable students to learn independently, with ongoing facilitation and support from experienced teaching staff. Students are encouraged to interact with tutors, peers and study groups to develop knowledge, understanding and interpersonal skills, which are critical for the effective practice of mediation. In addition, students will study conflict theory and communication skills, as well as the process and theory of different models of mediation and their application in the many areas where mediation is practised.

Students will be encouraged to critically reflect on their own styles and learning, a pre-requisite for effective mediation practice. It will look in detail at the full range of generic mediation skills, making it suitable for prospective mediators in all situations and jurisdictions.

A successful student will achieve a good understanding of the basic principles of conflict resolution with some practical experience of mediating disputes.

View detailed information about this course

International Arbitration Law - Credits: 30

Arbitration is growing in popularity as a dispute resolution method across a variety of sectors, and internationally. The law in this area is technical and complex, and a full understanding of how it operates is essential for anyone advising clients, or framing contracts carrying arbitration clauses.

The principles and content of international arbitration law are considered, with the UK arbitral system as the template. Other systems, including some of the institutional rules, are also considered. Key concepts which apply across all arbitration regimes will be considered. Subjects covered here will include the rules and principles underpinning the following:

The Arbitration Agreement

Sources of Arbitral Rules: Legislative and Institutional

Jurisdiction of the Arbitral Tribunal

Appointment of Arbitrators

The Arbitral Process Pre-Hearing

The Arbitral Hearing

Arbitral Costs

The Award and Challenge

Enforcement of the Award.

View detailed information about this course

Year 3

Compulsory Courses

Dissertation - Credits: 60

This course is taken only by students on the General Route of the LLM programme. It involves preparing a proposal for a thesis in an area related to part of the programme subject matter. The proposal, once approved, is then expanded into a full 10,000 word thesis. This is prepared under supervision by an academic with special knowledge on the thesis topic. This is an opportunity to conduct a deep and industry-valuable study of an area of interest to the student. Very high quality dissertations are sometimes developed (potentially with the assistance of academic staff) into professional or academic journal publications.

View detailed information about this course


PgCert

  • Study Options:
    • 1 Year (Part Time) · Online Learning · September or January
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Year 1

Postgraduate Certificate International Arbitration

This one year specialist arbitration qualification is available only to those students with a law degree from a common law jurisdiction. It is recognised by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, exempting the successful student from the CIArb’s membership exams on the International Arbitration Pathway.

This level of CIArb recognition is also available to students who complete at least two years of the specialist LLM Arbitration Route (see above).

Postgraduate Certificate Mediation

This is a one year specialist qualification in mediation, for those who wish to focus on this method of dispute resolution only. This year of study includes an on-campus intensive one-week workshop in Aberdeen, to enable skills to be developed and assessed.

Compulsory Courses

Postgraduate Certificate International Arbitration

  • LS551Z International Arbitration Law (30 credits)
  • LS502G International Arbitration Practice (45 credits)

Postgraduate Certificate Mediation

  • LS552F Mediation Theory and Practice (30 credits)
  • LS502F Advanced Mediation Practice (45 credits)
International Arbitration Law

Arbitration is growing in popularity as a dispute resolution method across a variety of sectors, and internationally. The law in this area is technical and complex, and a full understanding of how it operates is essential for anyone advising clients, or framing contracts carrying arbitration clauses

View detailed information about this course

International Arbitration Practice

x

View detailed information about this course

Mediation Theory and Practice - Credits: 30

This course offers students the opportunity to study the theory of mediation and to develop their skills in mediation practice. The course is designed to enable students to learn independently, with ongoing facilitation and support from experienced teaching staff. Students are encouraged to interact with tutors, peers and study groups to develop knowledge, understanding and interpersonal skills, which are critical for the effective practice of mediation. In addition, students will study conflict theory and communication skills, as well as the process and theory of different models of mediation and their application in the many areas where mediation is practised.

Students will be encouraged to critically reflect on their own styles and learning, a pre-requisite for effective mediation practice. It will look in detail at the full range of generic mediation skills, making it suitable for prospective mediators in all situations and jurisdictions.

A successful student will achieve a good understanding of the basic principles of conflict resolution with some practical experience of mediating disputes.

View detailed information about this course

Advanced Mediation Practice

This course builds on the learning and knowledge gained in the Mediation Theory and Practice course (completion of which is a prerequisite).

Students will be encouraged to critically evaluate current practices in mediation and learn more advanced mediation techniques and strategies for use in more complex situations.

A deeper understanding of conflict theory and peace studies will form a core part of this course as will the legal context in which mediators operate, both from a UK and international perspective.

The course will culminate with an intensive one-week, on-campus session at the University of Aberdeen, where students will have the opportunity to practice and refine their skills as mediators in a supportive learning environment. This will include numerous opportunities for role-play, enabling students to consolidate their learning and develop the competencies required to become a practising mediator. At the end of the on-campus week, students will be assessed on their practical ability and skill as a mediator in a role-play situation.

Successful students will have developed an in-depth understanding and knowledge of all aspects of mediation and conflict theory and will also have gained confidence in putting their skills as a mediator into practice.

View detailed information about this course


How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

There will, in general, be three main methods of assessment on this programme:

  • Online interaction (grade based on work on online activities throughout the course)
  • Coursework (may be written, oral or role-play based)
  • Examination (usually closed book, can be taken in a venue near to the student)

Where there is more than one method of assessment, the percentage weighting of each will be indicated in the online Course Catalogue entry for the course.

Why Study Dispute Resolution?

The University of Aberdeen’s School of Law is the 11th top Law School in the UK. It is therefore highly rated for teaching, research and student care. Its graduates have a very high graduate employment rate.

The University’s Law School has a track record in dispute resolution tuition. This subject is already taught here at undergraduate, professional postgraduate and Masters levels. The on-campus Masters level course (Professional Arbitration Skills) is accredited by a leading professional arbitral body: the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb).

Further, the Law School here offers a range of specialist Masters programmes, including in Oil and Gas Law, Energy Law, Environmental Law, Public and Private International Law, Arbitration, Human Rights, Intellectual Property Law and Criminal Justice. This demonstrates a breadth and depth of expertise at Masters level. The LLB(Hons) and the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice are also taught here.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

Normally, a 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent) in Law will be required to be accepted onto this programme.

Alternatively, a 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) in another discipline may be accepted; this is especially so for those applicants not pursuing a route which focusses on Arbitration.

Significant experience in a professional pursuit may, exceptionally, be accepted as a substitute for a Bachelor’s degree.

The exception to the above is that entry to the PgCert International Arbitration requires the applicant to have a 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent) in Law from a common law jurisdiction. The reason for this additional requirement is that students on this route do not require to take the Legal Principles course.

The Programme Director retains sole discretion for any admission decisions.

Applications may be made up until the end of August each year. However, since places are limited, early application is encouraged.

English Language Requirements

All students entering the University must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study effectively at the University of Aberdeen.

Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages. This programme requires that you meet the College of Arts and Social Sciences Postgraduate Standard level of English proficiency.

If you have not achieved the required scores, the University of Aberdeen offers pre-sessional English courses. Further details are available on our Language Centre website.

Nationals of some English-speaking countries or those who hold degrees from some English-speaking countries may be exempted from this requirement. Details of countries recognised as English-speaking can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme.

Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

There is an additional fee for those taking the Arbitral Award Writing course, which, for 2016-17 is:

  • For those enrolled on our PgCert/PgDip/LLM Dispute Resolution: £350
  • For those not so enrolled: £700
Fee information
Fee category Cost
LLM All Students £9,600
Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year The programme is charged per stage as follows: PgCert: £3500 PgDip: £7000 LLM: £9600

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Careers

This programme can enhance dispute negotiation skills, essential to all dispute-related jobs.

Becoming a mediator requires, for credibility, a robust, quality postgraduate qualification which imparts the skills necessary to help parties to reach a negotiated solution. Those representing clients who may use mediation would also benefit from understanding their advice on the techniques a mediator will use. Anyone in a management position would benefit from an understanding of the principles, theories and practical techniques an education in mediation imparts. Although some mediators are lawyers, many are not, and this programme caters for those from all disciplines who may wish to become a mediator.

Those representing clients in an arbitral process need to fully understand how it differs from litigation and this programme would allow a legal professional to diversify his/her practice into this lucrative, growing area, especially internationally. Transactional lawyers and professionals need to know what is involved in arbitration too, since many commercial contracts contain a dispute resolution clause; if it is poorly drafted, this can cause considerable problems later. Arbitrators are drawn from a range of professional groupings, including lawyers, engineers, surveyors, construction professionals, the financial and accounting professions and many others. This programme is designed to allow any professional wishing to become involved in the world of arbitration (or to build on their involvement) to enhance career prospects.

This LLM programme also enhances the practical skills of graduates to tackle difficult situations or disagreements, whether they are among colleagues, business associates or clients. It exposes students to a range of other professionals. It will enhance problem solving skills as well as writing, critical thinking and interpersonal skills.

Accreditation

Students who obtain the following qualifications to a certain standard will be exempt from the Membership examinations of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators:

  • PgCert International Arbitration.
  • LLM Dispute Resolution (on the Arbitration Route – see above – for at least the first two years).

This degree holds accreditation from

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School of Law
University of Aberdeen
Taylor Building

Aberdeen
AB24 3UB