UNITAR / PFT Online Course on

  Course Information
The expansion of international trade, particularly in recent decades, has spawned a large number and type of international disputes. Resolving those disputes without agreed procedures for doing so, can prove to be time-consuming, frustrating and even pointless. Although arbitration was traditionally perceived as serving the interests of industrialized countries, since the 1970s there has been a surge in the participation in arbitration by developing countries and emerging economies. It is there important for lawyers and financial negotiators to be aware of the issues, problems and institutions involved in the various stages of international arbitration and alternative dispute resolution. This course aims to expose the various methods available for the effective and efficient resolution of international commercial disputes other than courses, such as arbitration, mediation, conciliation. It will also provide an overview of the leading national and international arbitration institutions engaged in providing the services and fora for the resolution of such disputes.
Registration Status: OPEN
Deadline for Enrollment: when slots are full
Course Dates: October 25 to December 17, 2010
Estimated learning time: Minimum of 35 hours
Format: Online/Internet-based (asynchronous)
Language of Instruction: English
Fees: US $ 400/-
Helpline: UNITAR Geneva (Course Administration and Technical Questions)
  Overall Objectives and Scope
Justice dispensation system of a country plays a significant role in its progress and prosperity. If the delivery of justice in a country is reasonably quick, less expensive, involves less procedural formalities, devoid of technicalities, based on equity and justice and dependable, such countries enjoy reliability and better confidence of the international investing community. The courts or judicial forums established by the law of the land are sufficient to render the justice. However, this seldom happens, particularly when a country is in the developing stage. In developing countries generally the justice dispensation system is a low priority item. The reason being that it is a non-revenue generating branch of the State. Thus, out of the scarce resources of the country, the share of judicial system is often meager. The absence of the will of the State to devote the attention it deserves, insufficiency of resources and inadequacy of well trained man power have serious impact on it. The result is that the cases take unduly long time to decide and the process becomes very expensive and unreliable. In spite of these difficulties, when a dispute arises between two persons belonging to the same country, they generally go to the courts established by law in that country. This has been the most common method employed by the citizens of a country for resolution of a dispute with fellow citizens.

It is when a dispute arises between two persons belonging to two different countries that the difficulty arises. One option available to the parties is to go to the domestic courts of either country for the resolution of that dispute. However, this approach may have its own problems. The first is the jurisdiction of the courts. The laws relating to jurisdiction of a country are not made keeping in view transnational disputes. The other is dissimilarity in the legal system of two countries. The problem acquires serious dimensions if the country of one party follows Common Law system and the country of the other party follows Civil Law system. The next is the choice of law applicable to the agreement and the consequential dispute between the parties. Availability of assets of the defendant in that jurisdiction is also a consideration for the purpose. Apart from these difficulties, the above mentioned conventional difficulties like undue delay in the dispensation of justice, complicated procedural formalities, transportation of entire evidence and witnesses from one country to the other country, high cost of litigation, judicial imperfection, etc. cannot be ignored. In view of these and other difficulties, the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods are becoming more popular world wide. They help in generation of confidence of the international investing community. And if a dispute arises, they need not depend on the judicial system of that country and can resort to the alternative dispute resolution methods.

  Intended Audience

This course is primarily designed for the following audience:

1. Beginners and laypersons - lawyers and non-lawyers -- who want to learn about arbitration, conciliation, mediation, etc. as a means for the resolution of commercial disputes but who are quite unaware or ignorant about their utility, usefulness and basic principles.

2. Persons belonging to the same country having a commercial dispute and desiring to settle the same expeditiously through alternative means rather than going to the courts of the country.

3. International business organizations or entities, belonging to different countries, involved in a commercial dispute. They do not wish to go to the courts of either country for the resolution of such disputes. How they may get their commercial disputes resolved through arbitration and other ADR methods? They will better understand and appreciate the usefulness of alternative means of resolution of disputes as compared to courts.

4. Those government and private sector lawyers engaged in providing legal services to the business community and have to advise them on the resolution of international commercial disputes. It is much faster, less expensive and has less procedural complications to resolve disputes through arbitration and other ADR means rather than the courts.

5. The government officers and public sector managers who enter into contracts with international suppliers for the fulfillment of their requirements. Such contracts often contain a clause for the resolution of disputes through arbitration and other ADR methods.

  Course Goals

At the end of the course, the course participants should have greater knowledge of:

1. Various methods available for the effective and efficient resolution of domestic and international commercial disputes other than courts, such as arbitration, mediation, conciliation, etc., and how to avail of the said facility and the procedure to be followed for the purpose.

2. The national and leading international arbitration institutions engaged in providing the services for the resolution of international commercial disputes and their rules of procedure.

At the beginning of each module, this course offers a set of learning objectives so as to enable the course participants to know what they will learn from that particular module/session.


This course is designed as an online course in which participants will be primarily responsible for their own learning. Each lesson will consist of the following components:

1) Basic Reading Materials (Compulsory Reading Materials): these materials are intended to educate the participants about the basic concepts and principles applicable to the subject-matter of the lesson. It will include, where appropriate, sample materials. These materials will constitute the required reading materials for the lesson

2) Advanced Reading Materials (Optional Reading Materials): this will consist of optional reading materials for participants who wish to learn more about the topic than what is covered in the lesson.

3) External Links: This will refer the interested participants to additional books, articles, documents, and websites that deal with the issues raised in the lesson.

4) Glossary: A glossary of terms tailored to the online course will be provided to the participants and act as a learning support during the entire course.

5) Quizzes: At the end of each lesson there will be a set of quizzes for participants to answer. These quizzes are designed to test the participant's understanding of the lesson. Participants are required to pass each quiz and obtain at least 80% or more passing grade in order to be eligible for a certificate. All quizzes will need to be taken online.

6) Community Discussion Board: There will be a community discussion board available on which participants can post questions or comments that can be seen by the instructor and the other participants. This discussion board will be moderated by the course director and UNITAR. Structured discussion strings will be posted on a weekly basis.

All successful participants will be eligible to a certificate after completion of this online course.

Course Outline








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