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LAW4225 - Non-adversarial justice

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Law

Leader: Semester Two: Becky Batagol


Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)


This unit takes a radically different approach to the study of law by focusing on forms of conflict management, dispute prevention and dispute resolution outside the adversarial system. It examines ways of lawyering that employ non-adversarial, psychologically beneficial, and humanistic methods of solving legal problems, resolving legal disputes and preventing legal difficulties.


Upon completion of this unit, students should:

  1. be able to critically analyse the nature of the adversarial system, including its benefits and pitfalls;
  2. understand the nature of non-adversarial justice, the theories behind the movement and the reasons for the perceived need for non-adversarial processes;
  3. understand theories of interpersonal conflict, how disputes arise, conflict management and dispute prevention;
  4. understand and be able to explain the theoretical underpinnings and the nature of a range of non adversarial processes in civil and criminal and international law, including some that relate to criminal offences, disputes following separation/divorce, workplace and industrial disputes, native title, neighbourhood disputes, environmental disputes, adminstrative and commercial law;
  5. be able to critically analyse each of the non-adversarial processes taught for their various strengths and weaknesses and be able to identify which non-adversarial processes may or may not be appropriate in particular cases;
  6. understand and evaluate the place of non adversarial processes within an adversarial legal system;
  7. be able to appreciate the complexities of the relationship between law and non-adversarial processes;
  8. be able to explain how courts can apply principles of non-adversarial juctice;
  9. understand how lawyers can and do their work with non-adversarial processes and appreciate the role that lawyers can play in directing clients towards non-adversarial processes in appropriate cases;
  10. understand and be able to critically comment on appropriate ethical standards of conduct for of lawyers and other professionals working with non-adversarial processes; and
  11. develop skills in observation and critical analysis of legal processes including making recommendations for changes or law reform.


An observation/placement assignment (1600 words): 20% A research essay (3200 words): 40%. Take home exam: 40%

Contact hours

Three hours of lectures per week


LAW1100 or LAW1101 and LAW1102 or LAW1104