Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has gained increased popularity in recent times due to congestion in the courts, delays in litigation, rising legal costs and client requests. According to a 2018 report on the state of the Australian legal market, dispute resolution is the fastest growing practice area at 19.1% growth year on year. As the pressure from courts and clients for pre-trial settlements increases, lawyers experienced in ADR have a distinct advantage.

Now in these uncertain times, resolving disputes without litigation is even more important.  We are delighted to announce The Thomson Reuters Alternative Dispute Resolution online conference taking place on 16 June 2020.

The conference aims to address the key issues with ADR, why ADR is providing outcomes litigation cannot provide and skills for managing conflict and resolving disputes. The conference is for ADR practitioners and lawyers dealing with commercial, community and workplace disputes to family conflict. The Conference aims to provide practical tips and training on mediation and arbitration skills, techniques for communicating with influence during negotiations, addressing ethical issues and much more.

Conference topics include:

  • Different forms of ADR, their limitations, advantages and disadvantages
  • When to and when not to go to ADR
  • Issues with case management
  • Effectively preparing for ADR to get the best outcomes
  • Negotiation skills in a mediation setting
  • International Commercial Arbitration
  • Technology and dispute resolution
  • Ethics and professional responsibility in mediation and ADR

We look forward to you joining us.

For any event enquiries, please email


16 June 2020


$595 + GST

CLE Points
Conference attendance earns 4 CPD points in substantive law, 1 CPD point in professional skills and 1 CPD point in Ethics and Professional Responsibility.

Register Now

For any event enquiries email



Welcome from the Organisers


Welcome from the Chair

Deborah Lockhart, Lockhart, CEO, Australian Disputes Centre


Different types of ADR and their advantages and disadvantages

We open the conference by looking at some of the key concepts within alternative dispute resolution and different types of DR mechanisms - their limitations, advantages and disadvantages. Different forms of ADR may be more appropriate than others, depending on the nature of the dispute, the parties, or the relationship. The session examines the various forms of ADR listed below and discusses when they can be most effectively and appropriately deployed:

  • Mediation
  • Facilitation
  • Conciliation
  • Arbitration (commercial, New York Convention or other forms)
  • Med-Arb
  • Expert determination
  • Early neutral evaluation

Gitanjali Bajaj, Partner, DLA Piper Australia


Litigation and ADR - when and when not to use

With successful dispute resolution, the question is not a binary one: to sue or not and instead, use alternative forms of dispute resolution. The options for effective, cost efficient and successful dispute resolution are far more numerous. Accordingly, practitioners need to understand when, where and how ADR can be most appropriate. This session examines the role and utility of ADR in the broader context of:

  • Why DR at all?
  • ADR in the shadow of litigation
  • When is DR appropriate / inappropriate?
  • Is it better that DR is imposed so that 'consensus might come'?
  • The pros and cons of consensual and imposed dispute resolution
  • The problem of case management metrics - has referral to DR become an end in itself?

Michael Mills, Managing Partner, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP and author of Thomson Reuters, Dispute Resolution (2018).


Refreshment Break


Negotiation skills in a mediation setting

Mediations and other forms of ADR can be as combative and heated as any formal court process – often moreso, as the two parties have greater scope to speak face-to-face with each other. While this is an essential part of the mediation process, unless properly managed, it can lead to raised emotions and impasses. This means your negotiation and facilitation skills need to be especially honed to know what clients expect from DR and what their expectations are of what DR can achieve - much will depend on the client's level of sophistication - so what is it exactly that people want out of DR?

Mary Walker, 9 Wentworth Cambers


Effectively preparing for ADR to get the best outcomes

In mediations and other forms of alternative dispute resolution- as in court proceedings- care and preparation is critical to achieving an outcome that is in the best interests of your client. This session examines how to effectively prepare for mediation and, by extension, other forms of non-determinative dispute resolution.

  • Developing ADR strategies and achieving high-quality non-litigious outcomes where appropriate
  • What do we really mean by "needs and interests"?
  • Practical insights on resolution through constructive, creative and practical advice
  • Case studies and lessons learned

Paul Lewis, Partner, Gadens (Sydney), Accredited Mediator (NMAS)

12:10 - 1:00PM

Lunch break


The Future of Dispute Resolution

How will we engage with dispute resolution into the future? Technology is already reshaping and changing ADR. From supportive and replacement technologies to the more disruptive technologies powered by AI, there are questions about how human ADR practitioners will engage with clients and professionals.  ADR of the future. Future changes will change how participants understand, are supported by, and engage in ADR. The development of mass ADR providers who engage using new platforms is already shifting ADR delivery. How can we ensure that our ADR services remain relevant and more importantly of high quality? This session considers where DR processes are located, the challenges of a multi option dispute resolution environment as well as research on ADR effectiveness and how we can ensure we do, and value, what ‘works’ within a rapidly changing environment. In addition, current evaluation research focusing on new ‘self service’ and justice apps will explore how ADR processes are changing and likely to change over the next decade.

Professor Tania Sourdin, Dean, the University of Newcastle Law School
Author of Thomson Reuters Alternative Dispute Resolution 6th edition 2020


International Commercial Arbitration

International Commercial Arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism has gained acceptance in most Asian countries and in the past few years has grown exponentially. The increase in arbitration cases is likely to continue against a backdrop of increasing cross border transactions and consequent cross border disputes. The session examines the cultural differences influencing the Asian dispute resolution arena, covering developments in legislation, institutional arbitration rules and cases from the major international arbitration jurisdictions in the Asia Pacific region: Australia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

Brenda Horrigan, Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills,
President of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA) and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb).


Refreshment Break


Ethics and professional responsibility in mediation and ADR

Lawyers running or participating in a mediation or other form of ADR are still bound by the ethical and professional conduct rules. A number of these are the same as the rules for a more formal court setting, but there are some nuances that practitioners need to be aware of. This session explores the ethical duties that lawyers need to adhere to while involved in the mediation process.

  • Duties of good faith – when and how do they apply?
  • Is such a duty enforceable? If so, how and when and at whose suit?
  • Duties of confidentiality and disclosure - when can the 'veil' be lifted?
  • Informed decision-making and fairness
  • Lawyer's professional conduct rules - a duty to engage in DR - a duty when in DR itself - best endeavours to settle or can a lawyer use DR as a 'trial run'?

Dr Lola Akin Ojelabi, Associate Professor, Director of Programs (LLB), La Trobe Law School
Co-author of Thomson Reuters Ethics and Justice in Mediation.


Closing remarks from the chair and end of conference