Instructor(s): Jonathan Jacobs

Note: 2 credits (ungraded)

This course will meet exclusively remotely once a week, via audio-visual conference. To enrol in this course all students must meet or exceed the tech requirements for enrolment in University of Toronto courses, which can be found here []

With the costs of litigation ever increasing, the use of mediation has become one of the more desirable ways for those engaged in a dispute to effectively resolve their problem and is often required by Courts. The mediator can provide the valuable service of facilitating a negotiation that will allow the parties to come to an amicable resolution that may prevent, or end, litigation. By participating in a mediation course, law students will expand their ability to appreciate all sides of a dispute. They will learn how to objectively diagnose and solve problems and will apply a process that builds consensus and resolves conflicts in a creative manner. Mediation training will also allow students to sharpen their communication techniques. The skills that will be developed in this course are necessary for all forms of dispute resolution, including effective advocacy, and are essential in training law students to be capable lawyers.

The course will provide students with an opportunity to explore the theory and practice of alternative dispute resolution through mediation. Students will have the opportunity to develop the requisite skills to mediate disputes and to serve as an advocate at mediation.

The features of the mediation course will be as follows:

  • An introduction to conflict management, negotiation theory and various mediation models and mediator styles.
  • Students will gain an understanding of a mediation process that will be applied throughout the course.
  • Students will have an opportunity to learn and practice all the skills a mediator will need through the various stages of a mediation, which include: pre-mediation conferences; opening the mediation; managing the parties relationships; actively listening and facilitating communication between the parties; uncovering interests; framing issues; developing options; the appropriate use of caucuses; and bringing closure to a mediation.
  • Students will be exposed to the challenges that a mediator may be faced with, which include: the receipt of confidential information; dealing with emotional and irrational parties; being aware of and responding to ethical challenges, including parties that lie; and working with unrepresented parties.
  • Students will develop mediation advocacy skills and learn the difference between being an advocate at a mediation when compared to other types of adversarial proceedings.

The nature of the course will be a mix between teaching and discussing mediation theory and methodology and the direct application of the skills learned. Students will participate in exercises that focus on developing the specific skills a mediator needs. A significant portion of the course will be devoted to mediation role plays, where the students will have the opportunity to play the roles of mediator, counsel and client. Students will receive direct feedback on their performance as mediator from experienced counsel and mediators from the local community.

Seminars are cumulative, therefore, attendance is mandatory, subject to emergencies. Because the simulated negotiations are designed for specific numbers of people, attendance during class hours will be required and attendance will be taken. The students will be provided with reading materials and will be required to keep a reflective journal on their understanding of the theory and its application to their mediation experiences and will prepare a Mediation Brief. The journal entries will be submitted on a weekly basis. Class participation, journal assignments and the Mediation Brief must be satisfactory in order to receive course credit. Students will receive ungraded credits.
Academic year
2020 - 2021

At a Glance

First Term



15 JD


W: 6:50 - 8:30 pm (AV Conference)