Comparative Dispute Resolution
University of Western Cape
Faculty of Law
Summer 2005

Instructors: Craig Bosch and John Lande
E-mail: and

Course Goals and Objectives
This course will explore a number of critical issues in the ways that societies structure their dispute resolutions systems. By comparing different systems, students will gain a greater understanding of their own system as well as others. The course will analyze and compare a range of dispute resolution processes (such as litigation, negotiation, mediation, and arbitration) and applications to deal with specific types of problems (such as criminal, employment, public policy, family conflicts) in different societies. The course will examine the extent to which various factors such as the history, culture, institutional developments, legal norms influence the systems for handling of these issues. The course will include readings, lectures, and exercises to provide students with an enhanced understanding of differences in dispute resolution processes.

Course Requirements

  1. Timely completion of required readings.
  2. Regular attendance and constructive participation in class discussion. Comments may be about issues in the readings, class discussion, case simulations, or other relevant matters. Asking questions can be a very good form of participation.
  3. Final exam.


Grades will be based on:

If a student has two or more absences, the grade may be reduced and, in more serious cases, the student may fail the course.

Class Schedule and Assignments

This schedule is subject to change. Additional readings may be assigned.

Tuesday 5 July: 13h10 - 15h00:
Materials: Fred E. Jandt and Paul B. Pedersen, eds., Constructive Conflict Management: Asia-Pacific Cases (1996). Pages 9-15, 249-275. William L. Ury, Conflict Resolution Among the Bushmen: Lessons in Dispute Systems Design, 11 Negotiation Journal 379 (1995).

Wednesday 6 July: 09h00 - 11h00:
Nature of Conflict Management Systems
Materials: Robert A. Kagan, Adversarial Legalism:  The American Way of Law (2001). Chapter 1
Chapters 1 and 11 from Scharf and Nina The other law: non-state ordering in South Africa (2001)

Pages 7 - 17 from South African Law Commission Discussion Paper 87: Community Dispute Resolution Structures.

Monday 11 July: 13h00 - 16h00:
Dispute Resolution in Employment Discrimination cases
Speaker: Sarah Christie
Materials: Jean R. Sternlight, In Search of the Best Procedure for Enforcing Employment Discrimination Laws: a Comparative Analysis, 78 Tulane L. Rev. 1401 (2004).

Tuesday 12 July: 10h00 - 12h00; 13h00 - 14h00:
Restorative Justice: Victim offender programs
Materials: Mark S. Umbreit, Robert B. Coates, Betty Vos, Victim-Offender Mediation: Three Decades of Practice and Research, 22 Conflict Resolution Quarterly 279 (2004).
Howard Zehr, Commentary: Restorative Justice: Beyond Victim-Offender Mediation, 22 Conflict Resolution Quarterly 305 (2004).

Wednesday 13 July: 10h00 - 12h00; 13h00 - 14h00:
Restorative Justice: Truth and Reconciliation Commissions
Speaker: Professor Jeremy Sarkin
Materials: Chapter 1 from Sarkin Carrots and Sticks: The TRC and the South African Amnesty Process (2004)

Thursday 14 July: 09h00 - 13h00; 14h00 - 17h00:
Speaker: John Cartwright
Simulation: designing a dispute resolution system

Friday 15 July: 09h00 - 13h00:
Conflict Resolution Through Law: Synthesis of Issues in the Course.
Materials: Robert A. Kagan, Adversarial Legalism: The American Way of Law (2001). Chapters 2-3.

Saturday 16 July: 10h00 - 12h00:
Final Exam

Copyright 2005 Craig Bosch & John Lande. Teachers are free to copy these materials for educational use in their courses only, provided that appropriate acknowledgment of the author is made. For permission to use these materials for any other purpose, contact the author.