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Dealing with High Conflict in Law & Arbitration - COming Winter 2021

Course Dates

  • This course is not currently scheduled.

The potential for conflict is everywhere, and escalation and high conflict behaviours are almost unavoidable for many professionals working in conflict resolution. Lawyers and arbitrators working with parties involved in potentially high conflict cases need to understand and manage complexity, emotional intensity, and challenges that may arise during their work.

This course introduces lawyers and arbitrators to aspects of high conflict, including dealing with parties experiencing poor mental health, addictions and substance use issues, strong emotions, and challenging behaviours associated with personality disorders. As legal and arbitral processes are often the last course of action for parties in high conflict, lawyers and arbitrators need to be equipped with the tools to facilitate high conflict discussions and processes effectively.

One approach to effective facilitation of high conflict discussions entails employing a trauma-informed and person-centered approach. Trauma is prevalent in society and influences the occurrence of conflict and crime; thus, a trauma informed lens is a foundational way of understanding the root of issues that arise in law and arbitration. Trauma also impacts the wellbeing of the professional, the relationship between the professional and the client(s), and the outcomes of the legal and arbitral processes . Trauma-informed practice approaches promote structure, safety, choice, process, and an awareness of the prevalence of trauma in society.

Who Should Take This Course?

    Students should be working in the legal profession, justice, enforcement, or as arbitrators, or they may be students in one of these fields. This course does not teach law or arbitration, the expectation is that students are already experts in these areas, instead students should expect to learn about high conflict behaviours as they pertain to their professional context.  

    If you are a lawyer-mediator or mediator-arbitrator, we suggest that you take either the Understanding High Conflict (14 hours) or High Conflict Mediation (28 hours) course, as these are directed to those who have mediation training and practice in this area.

    For Alberta lawyers, consider including this course as a CPD learning activity in your mandatory annual Continuing Professional Development Plan as required by the Law Society of Alberta.

    What will I learn?


    In the context of high conflict and complex cases, students will:   

    • develop skills and tools for dealing with high conflict behaviours
    • be able to separate the people from problem behaviours   
    • be able to reflect on perspectives and needs   
    • recognize areas for future development of their practice skills and competencies   
    • note limitations and professional responsibilities in relation to these limitations  
    • gain a trauma informed perspective   


    Students will:  

    1. be introduced to evidence-based content on trauma, mental health, and addictions/substance use  
    2. engage in professional self-reflection  
    3. explore professional responsibilities
    4. be introduced to skills and techniques to use in high conflict and complex cases  
    5. consider professional identity/stance 

    What can I expect in class?

    Students will get more out of the course if they complete all the readings, videos, activities, assignments, and participate fully in the live sessions.  Students will engage in blended online learning (synchronous and asynchronous) to explore high conflict behaviours and complexities from a trauma informed perspective. Openness to new ideas and self-reflection are key aspects of this learning process.   

    Session 1:  Professional responsibilities and introduction to trauma 
    Session 2: Mental health and substance use, high conflict behaviours and patterns 
    Session 3: Setting the stage for success 

    Hours: 10 credit hours (3 live sessions @ 3 hours/session)  

    In addition to class hours/live sessions, students can expect to spend about 1 hour per week on reading and exercises to prepare for live sessions  

    Includes: Access to course content, course videos/links, student forum, and three live sessions   

    Requires: Full attendance and participation in all live sessions. A letter of attendance will be issued only to those who have met the course requirements.   

    What are the details?

    Cost of this course is:

    • $650 for members
    • $725 for non-members

    Alberta's association of mediators and arbitrators. 
    Your source for ADR information and expertise.

    Our main office is located in Edmonton:
    #225, Tower 1
    3697 Millwoods Road NW 
    Edmonton, AB T6K 3L6

    Contact Us:

    Toll Free: 1-800-232-7214
    Edmonton area: (780) 433-4881
    Fax: (780) 433-9024

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