What is mediation and how can it help you?
Our staff are formally trained to mediate commercial disputes, and we help all parties. In addition, we have a panel of independent professional mediators with a wide range of commercial experience.
Mediation is remarkably successful—in fact, about 80% of all matters referred to us for mediation are resolved. Before a court or tribunal can make a decision on a retail lease matter, by law you may be required to attempt mediation with us. The mediation process is essential in minimising the costs of business and commercial disputes.
Our staff closely case-manage the mediation process. We have the expertise to advise you on procedural issues, relevant provisions of Retail Leases Act 1994, and on commercial concerns generally that relate to business disputes. About one-third of all disputes formally referred to us will settle in the first stages before we bring the parties together in a formal, face-to-face mediation.
The Small Business Commissioner has dropped application fees for mediation which means if our officers are able to resolve your dispute informally, it is now at no cost to your small business.
If the dispute cannot be resolved through our early discussions, then we will arrange a mediator from our panel, and a meeting room at a time that suits everybody. We provide convenient mediation facilities for free either in Sydney’s CBD, or if your business is regional, at a location close to you.
We provide top level mediators at a cost significantly reduced from their commercial rates.
At this meeting, we will conduct a formal mediation process, which usually takes between 3 and 5 hours. The costs are based on an hourly rate payment by each party ($152 incl. GST, per hour, per party, as of February 2012).
The Commissioner is continuing to explore new ways to make mediation more affordable for small businesses.
The key benefits of mediation are:
- The parties have greater control over the outcome rather than having a court force you to accept a solution
- Anything said in mediation is confidential, and cannot be used in later court cases. This encourages open communication, and creative solutions to problems, without fear of what you say "coming back to bite you"
- The mediator appointed is not on anyone's side - they help both parties find a practical solution to the problem, rather than helping one side win against the other
- 80% of matters will resolve before the lengthy and expensive court proceedings need to take place.