LLM Programme

The taught modules offered on the LLM programme vary from year to year. Please check the full list of taught modules list for details of modules running in specific academic years. We make every effort to ensure that every module will be offered, but modules are subject to change and cancellation. You are therefore advised to check this site regularly for further updates throughout the year preceding entry to the LLM programme.

Credit value: 30 credits (12 ECTS)

Module Convenor:
Dr Maria Federica (Marica) Moscati

Other Teachers:
Ms Louise Campbell-Brown



This Module examines the theory and practice of dispute resolution. The course offers a cross-cultural perspective, arguing that innovations in dispute resolution in the common law world over the past four decades or so are best understood in the context of a more general understanding of dispute processes. This knowledge is important for both academic analysis and also because it assists lawyers and others to deal with legal problems more creatively and more successfully.

The Course first examines the emergent concern in social science and jurisprudential writing with the nature and significance of disputes, and considers the manner in which traditional approaches have been ‘rediscovered’ and utilised in the refurbishment of civil justice through first the ‘access to justice’ movement and then the ‘ADR’ movement. The Course also considers the manner in which disputes are characterised, the diverse views located in the debates that surround disputes, the causes of disputes, and the handling of disputes. It introduces the major theoretical approaches to disputes and their resolution, and examines the decision making processes used in response to disputes. It also considers the ways in which lawyers across a range of jurisdictions now increasingly engage in ADR.

The Module explores in depth the various processes of decision-making relied on in attempts to resolve disputes, examining in particular negotiation, mediation, adjudication, and various types of mixed processes, and considers these processes as they are applied in a range of settings (interpersonal, multi-party, organizational, family & community, commercial, online, and international). Regulatory issues, especially in relation to mediation, are also explored. By the end of the Module, students will have gained an understanding of the theoretical and practical dimensions of dispute resolution, and the groundwork laid for further inquiry into and application of non-adversarial methods and skills in dispute resolution.


The module is divided into five main parts. The Module first explores the Development and Nature of ADR, examining issues of formal and informal justice across a range of settings, and then exploring the manner in which ADR emerged as a reform movement in the late twentieth century, primarily in common law jurisdictions. This emergence, however, has been subject to considerable debate, and the nature and substance of these varying views, as well as the response of lawyers and other legal specialists hitherto embedded in an entrenched culture of litigation and adjudication, are examined in some depth. After examining the nature of ‘disputes’ and the manner in which disputes emerge, the Module then surveys the range of dispute resolution decision-making possibilities typically found in most jurisdictions as a prelude to detailed examination of the key modes of dispute resolution ordinarily used: negotiation, mediation, and umpiring (including arbitration). Particular attention will be given to mediation, as this has been the core ADR development in many jurisdictions since the late twentieth century for dealing with commercial and civil disputes. The role of mediation in a variety of contexts (including family, and commercial at national and international level), and the manner in which the practice of mediation is increasingly regulated, will be considered. Mediation also often forms a key element in innovative ‘mixed processes’ which represent inventive approaches to dispute resolution based on a fusion of one of more primary processes. In the final substantive section of the course, much attention will be given to the manner in which courts are increasingly influenced by ADR, and to exploring the place of arbitration in the world of ADR.


  • ADR and its Precursors
  • Development of ADR: Perspective and Debates
  • Disputes and Primary Processual Forms


  • Negotiation I: Actor Focused Models and Processual Models
  • Negotiation II: Practice


  • Mediation I: Mediatory Role and Process
  • Mediation II: Selected Issues
  • Mediation III: Family Mediation
  • Mediation IV: Practice
  • Mediation IV: Commercial Mediation
  • Mediation VI: Practice
  • Lawyering within Dispute Resolution Processes


  • Umpiring and ADR I -- Courts and their Reform
  • Umpiring and ADR II -- Arbitration
  • Processual Innovation: Mixed Processes I
  • Processual Innovation: Mixed Processes II
  • International Dispute Resolution
  • Online Dispute Resolution


  • Examination Advice

NOTE: The course in 2014-15 includes three exercises/role plays.

Background Reading (optional):

There is a compulsory course textbook for this module: Roberts and Palmer, (2005) Dispute Processes: ADR and the Primary Forms of Decision Making, Cambridge: CUP

Other optional readings are as follows:

  • Fuller, LL, "Forms and Limits of Adjudication" in The Harvard Law Review Vol 92, No 2, December 1978.
  • Felstiner, Abel, Sarat, "The Emergence and Transformation of Disputes: Naming, Blaiming, Claiming." in Law and Society Review, Vol 15, No 3/4 1980 - 1981.
  • Galanter, "Access to Justice in a World of Expanding Social Capability." Fordham Urban Law Journal, Vol 37, Issue 1, 2010.

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, once students have made their module selections upon enrolment in September.

Delivery and enrolment
Lectures/Seminars: 20 x 2-hour seminars
Tutorials: None
Previous module enrolments: Medium – 16-50 students
Who may enrol: LLM students, other UCL Masters students
Prerequisities: None
Barred module combinations: None
Core Module for LLM specialism: Litigation and Dispute Resolution
Final Assessment: 6,000 word coursework essay
Practice Assessment: Opportunity for feedback on one practice essay per term

This page was last updated on 8 July, 2014


The application process for the 2015-16 academic session is now open.

Please note, for the 2015-16 intake, we are not accepting the TOEFL test. If you have an English condition to meet, you must take one of the alternative tests listed here instead.