Mediation is a popular way of resolving everything from neighbourhood disputes to disagreements under multi-million dollar commercial contracts. An independent and neutral person helps you and the other parties work out the issues in dispute and come up with a solution which everyone accepts. It is up to you to reach an agreement and decide what is included in that agreement thereby retaining control of the outcome. The mediator will not make a decision for the parties but can draw up an agreement that the parties accept. During the mediation process personal considerations may be taken into account and if desired, there can be an emphasis on maintaining a working relationship between the parties.
It is quicker and easier to go to mediation than to court. This means you can use mediation at an early stage in the dispute, before a lot of legal costs have been incurred and both sides have become entrenched in their positions. A successful mediation will always be more cost-effective than going to court.
Many of the outcomes reached at mediation cannot occur in a court. For example, a court can only interpret what a contract means and cannot help you renegotiate the contract if both parties decide that is necessary. In mediation you can provide for commercial considerations and end up with a better solution for all concerned.
Unless the courts/ tribunals order you to try mediation, the process is usually voluntary. If you choose to mediate and an agreement is not reached, you may still go to court.
When is mediation compulsory?
Mediation is usually a voluntary process parties agree to – no party can force another party to mediate. However, many courts and tribunals have compulsory dispute resolution procedures. The Family Court requires compulsory mediation in custody/parenting matters. Court actions in the Federal Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court of Australia can only commence if parties have taken genuine steps to resolve their disputes (Civil Dispute Resolution Act 2011) though there are some proceedings which are excluded such as criminal, civil penalty or appeals.
Find a Mediator enables you to find a nationally accredited mediator.