Instructor(s): Leanne Shafir

For graduate students, the course number is LAW7043HF.

Note: This course satisfies the Legal Ethics graduation requirement.

This is a course about pre-empting conflicts and settling disputes non-judicially, focusing on the ethical dimensions of those processes. It begins with introductions to conflict management and dispute resolution, legal ethics at-large, and skills and techniques for alternative dispute resolution.

The course then turns to specific ethical issues in those fields, including: power-balancing by mediators among conflicting parties on the basis of cultural and economic inequalities; secret or unlawful settlements; bad faith and unconscionable behavior by conflicting parties; long-term involvement by mediators or arbitrators in class-action and other restorative justice initiatives; third-party and offshore financing of alternative dispute resolute resolution processes; conflicts of interest along the mediation-arbitration and arbitration-mediation continuums; the integration of parallel traditions like divinely-revealed, chthonic, and Roma ones into state law; unauthorized law practice in alternative dispute resolution processes; and, an overview of moral challenges in alternate dispute resolution processes.

This course therefore complements others like Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Legal Environment, Art of the Deal, Class Actions Law, Ethics in the Business Law Setting, International Commercial and Investor-State Arbitration, Legal Ethics, and Negotiation (all of which are offered from time to time), but none of those courses is a pre-requisite, co-requisite, or anti-requisite to this one. Broadly speaking, this course is a study of the reconciliation of professional ethics and standards with legal and institutional pluralism, and with the pluralized subjects of those diverse norms and sites of justice.

Each student will be asked to write an in-term research paper from secondary sources (about 1800 words), elaborating beyond the assigned readings on one or another of the topics covered in this course and worth one-third of his or her final grade. The instructor will provide suitable guidance for those projects. Those in-term papers must be submitted to the Records Office by the due date for written work in the first term of the 2018-19 academic year. A twelve-hour take-home examination (about 3,600 words), worth two-thirds of a students final grade, will also be administered at each students election anytime during the examination period (see University of Toronto Faculty of Law Take-home Policy for details).

At a Glance

First Term


53 JD
3 MBA students


T: 4:10 - 6:00