YouTube opens new window to dispute resolution

A gap in training for lawyers and law students has been filled by a series of videos on alternative dispute resolution (ADR) produced by the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre and the College of Law and Justice, Victoria University.

The YouTube video series takes viewers through a whole mock mediation process:

  • interviewing both parties prior to the event about their expectations
  • showing the mediation
  • a debriefing session afterwards
  • an interview with the mediator.

It continues with a further episode on arbitration and a debriefing of that session too.

The video series was produced in conjunction with the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria and was funded through a Victoria University grant.

Nussen Ainsworth, Project Leader said that ADR is a relatively recent concept.

"It has only recently started being taught in law school, so there are lots of practising lawyers who have never been trained in it."

"It is a very different environment to the courtroom and therefore requires specialised skills and a specific approach."

ADR is an umbrella term that covers practices such as mediation, conciliation and arbitration.

In ADR, as opposed to in a courtroom, the parties have ownership and maintain control over the outcome. In modern legal practice, most civil cases are likely to go through some kind of alternative dispute resolution prior to ending up in court.

"This video series really brings the concept to life and we have found that students really buy into it. Seeing it play out on screen, they become attached to it at a deeper level, so that deepens their learning."

The videos have already been used in high school legal studies classes and the SZCC team hopes they will be widely viewed elsewhere too.

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