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Foundations of Commercial Law Practice

Application Form
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There are two registration periods:
1st Semester - 4 September 2023 to 31 December 2023
2nd Semester - 4 March 2024 to 26 April 2024

This course is offered for free upon registration for the four Labour Dispute Resolution Practice courses. If the course is taken independently, the cost for the course is R13 900 including VAT.

Duration & Format
This is a block release course where participants attend lectures on a Saturday from 08:30 to 17:00 and on a Tuesday and Thursday evening from 17:30 to 20:30 during the period 27 January to 24 February 2024.  It will also be offered during the period 18 May to 15 June 2024. Courses might be delivered through blended learning. Students are required to have basic computer skills and stable internet connection.

The Foundations of Commercial Law Practice is a compulsory free skills development course for students that do not have a legal qualification and want to enrol for Labour Dispute Resolution Practice (LDRP) studies. The course aims to bridge the gap between participants' existing knowledge and LDRP courses. It aims to equip students with critical thinking skills, legal reasoning skills, legal reading skills for legislation and case law, effective writing skills and legal problem solving skills. The course also aims to provide opportunities to interact, and to stimulate thinking on specific topics. This will collectively prepare participants for LDRP studies.

 Course Outcomes
At the end of the course participants should be able to:

  • Describe the differences and characteristics between mediation, negotiation, arbitration, and litigation;
  • Explain the advantages of mediation compared to other forms of dispute resolution;
  • Interpret the South African Court rules, regulations, and forms governing family mediation;
  • Assess the personal and family financial information that is necessary for divorce and custody mediations;
  • Assess the impact of divorce and conflict in the home on children;
  • Describe the stages of children’s development and the impact of those on custody/ parenting agreements;
  • Explain the qualities and characteristics of a good mediator as well as appropriate mediator behaviours;
  • Identify how, as a mediator, to build trust, empathy, and rapport with clients while remaining impartial and neutral;
  • Differentiate the stages of mediation and the structure and appropriate content of each stage;
  • Define the common obstacles to a successful mediation and how to overcome them;
  • Explain when and how to refer parties to outside resources;
  • Draft a parenting plan and a settlement agreement.

Course Content
The course consists of the following modules:

  • Conflict - understanding and effective management: The theory of conflict, conflict management, approaches to conflict management is developed through practical exercises;  
  • Negotiation - understanding, needs based approach and effective skills: The experience of negotiation is developed from a negotiators point of view, best practice on negotiation is explored;
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes: The various ADR processes are unpacked, and a common understanding developed;             
  • Mediation – understanding and context: A clear focus is provided on mediation- what is it, where does it play a role, advantages and disadvantages, the nature of mediation and where is it best used;
  • Focusing on the children, including parenting plans, and the children’s participation in the mediation process;
  • Financial implications of divorce – dealing with issues of maintenance and distribution of assets and liabilities;
  • Mediator Skills: The various skills required to mediate a matter is developed;
  • Self- awareness: This critical area appreciates the need for mediators to be more aware of their personality and role in resolving conflict;             
  • Ethics: Mediator Ethics is developed with a guideline and practical scenarios to ensure that the mindset is one of responsibility.      

Target Audience
Legal professionals, law students, and business professionals interested in commercial law.

Application Process
Applicants with any other undergraduate qualifications outside the field of law;

Applicants interested in applying to study Labour Dispute Resolution Practice who have any other undergraduate qualifications outside the field of law or labour work experience must complete the free compulsory skills development course Foundations of Commercial Law Practice.  

Kindly note that basic computer literacy skills are compulsory for all courses.

You will be required to submit:

  • Certified copies of Qualifications and Academic Records
  • Certified copy of Identity Document or Passport.
  • A detailed Curriculum Vitae

Kindly note that all foreign qualifications must be submitted with a SAQA Evaluation Letter.

Additional Information
The following certificates can be obtained:

  • Certificate of Competence: To obtain a certificate of competence, students are required to attend and participate in 75% of the lectures and to complete the assessments as required and achieve a minimum pass mark of 50%.
  • Please note that a Certificate of Attendance is not available for this course.

This postgraduate certificate course is accredited by the university in accordance with its statutory mandate.  It does not lead to a qualification registered on the National Qualifications Framework

Mahlatse Masemola Tel No: +27 11 717 8438; Email 
Ursula Dillner-Dangor Tel No: +27 11 717 8435; Email: