Mediation is a process by which the parties to a dispute can with the help of a third party called a mediator try to resolve that dispute by discussion.
A mediator is usually a person who has undergone special training in managing conflict resolution. It is not up to the mediator to decide the outcome. This is purely a matter for the parties.
Mediation is a consensual process. If a dispute is characterised by violence or elements of verbal or physical abuse mediation may not be suitable. There is usually a screening process carried out by the mediating body before the mediation is started. The range of disputes manageable by mediation is vast. They range from neighbourhood problems to large commercial or property problems.
Mediation is now offered by the Magistrates’ Court in fencing and intervention (apprehended violence) applications. In these cases the mediation deals with the parties directly without the presence of lawyers. The mediation may last no more than an hour or two.
In Victorian County and Supreme Court cases meditation is compulsory before cases can go to trial. In these cases the parties and their lawyers attend. The mediation can take a day and sometimes can be adjourned and recommenced later where progress towards settlement is being made.
The mediator would be a lawyer who has substantial expertise in dispute resolution techniques and may have specialist knowledge in the area of dispute involved. Mediation is also used in family law matters and is often required as an initial step. Generally parties to a parenting dispute must obtain a certificate of attending at Alternative Dispute Resolution prior to their being able to litigate their dispute.
The principal of our practice Brendan O’Halloran has completed a 4 day course in basic mediation theory derived by Bond University and offers his knowledge to the public as a mediator to persons in dispute or to represent a party to a dispute at mediation.