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Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners provide a holistic approach to helping families navigate changes to relationships, parenting arrangements and living circumstances. FDRPs come from a variety of backgrounds including law, social work, psychology and dispute resolution/mediation. Our course meets your complete practicum requirements online through Virtual Simulated Practice.

There are two intakes each year - February and August.

Become a registered FDRP



Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution Practice (FDRP) - 5 core subjects (FDR1, FDR2, FDR3, FDR4, FDR5)
Master of Laws (Applied Law) majoring in Family Dispute Resolution Practice - 5 core subjects (FDR1, FDR2, FDR3, FDR4, FDR5)
- 3 elective subjects or a second major


The duration of subjects FDR1 - FDR4 is six weeks with FDR5 running over 8 weeks. This is comprised of online readings, module coursework and assessments, teleconference discussions with your subject leader and classmates and mandatory workshops delivered online


FDR1 - Family Law and Mediation*

This subject forms the foundation of the family dispute resolution (FDR) subjects. In this subject you will be introduced to family law and the place of mediation within family law. You will acquire the requisite knowledge to enable you, as a family dispute resolution practitioner (FDRP), to contextualise and appreciate each party’s unique situation within the family law framework, and assist each of them to understand your role and their respective roles in the process.

This subject also discusses where mediation sits on the dispute resolution spectrum and how the process assists in the resolution of family disputes.

By the end of the subject, you will have completed all the requirements under the National Mediation Standards to apply for assessment and subsequent accreditation.


  • Overview of Australian family law
  • Obligations of a family dispute resolution practitioner
  • The dispute resolution spectrum
  • Conflict analysis and pre-mediation preparation
  • Mediation models
  • Facilitative mediation process
  • Communication skills in mediation
  • Common issues in mediation


FDR2 - Children’s Matters, Family Law and Family Dispute Resolution

“What is true about family mediation is that first and foremost, it is about families, and secondarily, it is about mediation and dispute resolution processes. Family mediators help families change from what does not fit to what will work better.” – A Taylor, The Handbook of Family Dispute Resolution: Mediation Theory and Practice (Jossey-Bass, 2012) 3.

An understanding of families involves an introduction to the meaning and purpose of the family system, and how the family is impacted through separation. This subject introduces the student to the nuances of working with conflicted families. We will focus on understanding how family groups function and how they are affected by conflict. In particular we will explore how children exposed to parental conflict can be impacted.


  • defining and understanding families
  • emotional impact of separation on family members
  • children's needs and best interests
  • family law and children's matters
  • parenting plans and parenting orders.  


FDR3 - Advanced Family Dispute Resolution

This subject explores some of the advanced concepts surrounding mediating with families, such as recognising and managing ethical dilemmas, screening and assessing family and domestic violence, and managing the complexities of working with perpetrators of violence.

It is important that family dispute resolution practitioners (FDRPs) are able to assess whether their clients and cases are suitable for dispute resolution processes such as mediation and conciliation. It is also important that they are able to identify matters such as power imbalances and cultural issues that may impact on their clients’ ability to negotiate effectively within these processes.

From a broad-based perspective, this subject also encompasses wider factors such as gender, disability, race, ethnicity, religion, language, level of education and the effect of intergenerational differences.


  • family violence, child protection and the law
  • screening for violence, risk assessment and safety planning
  • techniques for managing volatile clients and situations, and
  • ethics in family dispute resolution.


FDR4 - Case Management in Family Dispute Resolution Capstone (30 hours of required practicum)

FDR4 is designed to be the clinical subject to underpin the theory of family dispute resolution practice. By the end of this subject you will have an understanding of the family dispute resolution case management principles. By completing this subject you will have the opportunity to manage family dispute resolution cases within simulated workplace experiences. You will take the carriage of four matters of various complexities that you will manage from intake, through to assessment, education, and referral, culminating in conducting the mediation.

Successful completion of this subject will provide 30 hours of clinical placement under the FDRP practicum requirements.


  • Introduction to family dispute resolution case management
  • Intakes (and variations)
  • Assessment for suitability
  • Information and referrals for mediation
  • Property matters in family dispute resolution
  • Child support assessment formula
  • Preparing for and conducting mediation


FDR5 - Virtual Simulated Practice (20 hours of required practicum)

This subject is designed to provide students with the virtual simulation practice in family dispute resolution setting. This subject will consist of the items of practical coursework. During this subject, students will be required to lead or co-facilitate on three matters including: children matters and property matters.


This subject will be conducted over 8 weeks with 5 days online face to face sessions to be spread over 3 weeks.

Each student will be allocated three matters and will be required to conduct an intake for each of the matters as well as a mediation session. Students will also be required to complete several assessments associated with the matters such as written agreements, intake assessment forms and matter analysis. The online face to face sessions will be conducted in the following weeks:

  • Week 3 – 1 day online face to face;
  • Week 4 – 3 days online face to face; and
  • Week 7 - 1 day online face to face.

Students will be allocated in the groups of four and assigned a supervisor/coach for the assessments and feedback.

Successful completion of this subject will provide students with the remaining 20 hours of clinical placement under the FDRP practicum requirements.



*Current Nationally Accredited Mediators are eligible for advanced standing for the FDR1 - Family Law and Mediation subject.


Practicum component

Successful completion of both FDR4 and FDR5 subjects will enable students to fully satisfy their practicum component requirement.

The option to complete the practicum requirements independently with an external supervisor, subject to meeting the usual requirements is also available. Any student requiring additional information regarding fulfilling the practicum requirements can contact the Client Services team at postgrad@collaw.edu.au

Students can apply for recognition of prior learning for FDR5, should they organise and complete external practicum. You can find details of accredited family dispute resolution practitioners at Family Dispute Resolution Providers Register and Family Relationships Online which may assist your search for independent placements. 




Complete family dispute resolution practice or the NMAS-accredited mediator training program to automatically receive free student membership with the Resolution Institute for the duration of your course and a 20% discount on the Institute’s professional membership fee for the first year of membership.




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