Dispute Resolution Methods

Course summary

This course will offer a unique and practical introduction to dispute resolution methods and will equip students with both theoretical and practical understandings of a topic of growing domestic and international significance.

In an increasingly globalised world resorting to courts is not always experienced as a fast and effective way of resolving disputes. The parties may wish to maintain a good working relationship over many years to come, or they may simply not want to commit to a potentially costly, time and resource intensive litigation process with an uncertain outcome. Even more so, if their counterparty is based abroad, the questions of international jurisdiction and enforcement arise and add another layer of difficulty. Alternatively they may be interested in long term projects to preserve cash-flow by finding a fast resolution, even if interim.

In response to the need for cost-efficient, timely and appropriate dispute resolution, several methods have been developed taking proceedings outside the usual setting of the courtroom. Parties and their advisers ought to be aware of the array of dispute resolution mechanisms, their potential application and features in order to be able to select the tool best suited to their needs. Certain industries, such as the construction industry, use tools, specifically developed to cater for the particularities and needs of the industry. Online dispute resolution has been developed both for the unique online setting but also to aid a speedy and cheap resolution of off-line disputes.

This course offers an introduction to a range of dispute resolution mechanisms, their potential application and features and their domestic and international legal framework. 

CIArb Recognised Course Provider status

Edinburgh Law School is a Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) Recognised Course Provider.

CIArb logo

Students who successfully complete the Dispute Resolution Methods course, with a minimum overall mark of 55%, will be exempted from the CIArb Introduction course and can apply for Associate Membership of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

The award of CIArb Recognised Course Provider status is for a period of three years from June 2018 - June 2021.  Visit the CIArb website


  1. Introduction to dispute resolution methods 
  2. Arbitration I: the arbitration proceedings
  3. Arbitration II: finality of awards and recognition & enforcement of awards
  4. Adjudication - construction adjudication 
  5. Co-operation, conflict and mediation 
  6. Expert determination 
  7. Mixed/hybrid and other non-mediation ADR processes
  8. Online dispute resolution I: e-commerce and online ODR
  9. Online dispute resolution II: Computer assisted ODR - solving offline disputes online?
  10. Escalation clauses (multi-tier dispute resolution clauses) 

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course you should have:

  • A sound understanding of the domestic and international legal instruments used to regulate and deliver dispute resolution.
  • A firm substantive and practical understanding of dispute resolution methods.
  • Developed written and oral skills, including the clear succinct expression of ideas.
  • Developed research skills and techniques in the field of international arbitration.


One essay of up to 4,000 words (80%) and one multiple choice test (20%).

Terms and conditions

Please note the University reserves the right to make variations to the contents of programmes, including the range of courses offered, and the available choice of courses in any given year may change.

Find out more about the University's terms and conditions