People shaking hands

Guide to your mediation

Mediation is a process of negotiation where parties in dispute come together to try to resolve the issue with the help of an independent mediator.

How to prepare

Mediation is designed to reduce costs to the parties and the amount of preparation they need to do, but some preparation will save time on the day and help avoid the need for any adjournments.

  • If you have documents (for example, financial records) that will help the other side understand the issues in dispute, it’s a good idea to have these ready to bring with you
  • You should also consider sending any useful reference material: reports, ledgers, and any relevant statements to the other side, prior to the day, if they are not sensitive. The Mediation Officer can help the parties to exchange documents that they would like to make available prior to the day
  • It’s best if all the key people you need are there on the day, if not in person, then at least by phone for you to talk to them about any important decisions. You may need to make professional advisers who are not attending aware of the times during which you may want to call them
  • Legal representatives are welcome to participate, but not required.
  • The benefits of having professional advisers available in person or by phone should be weighed against the costs
  • Make sure the Mediation Officer knows who is attending with you in advance, so everybody has plenty of notice of who is coming
  • We can organise interpreters, just let us know in advance – there is no cost to either party

On the day

  • Allow time for parking, finding your way, and getting any refreshments, if you are attending in person, arrive at last 15 minutes before the scheduled start
  • Most mediation sessions are between 3 and 5 hours in duration – they can be longer or shorter but expect this timeframe
  • The cost is $330 for up to 4 hours, per party. Additional fees (at $152 per hour) may be payable after 4 hours. These costs include GST

In the room

  • The mediator will handle introductions before the session gets underway 
  • You will be asked to talk about what has brought you to the mediation session, as will the other side. You might like to use notes, but the mediator will help everyone to have a more informal discussion that is without prejudice and protected by confidentiality
  • The mediator will help the parties list the issues to be discussed and help both sides explore those issues
  • You will be able to take breaks during the day and will have time for private discussion with others helping you (partners, associates, legal advisers or support persons attending with you) and also with the mediator
  • Options for progressing the matter, suggested by either side, will be discussed to help find an outcome both sides can agree to
  • If you have reached an agreement, the parties are encouraged to make a written record that is binding, and each take a copy. This will help both parties to perform any obligations, as well as have a common understanding of anything that cannot or should not be done

After the mediation session

  • If offers remain open after the mediation session, the parties are encouraged to make a written record of those offers during the mediation to take away, with a clear understanding of any deadlines
  • If there is no agreement reached on the day, either party may request a certificate (or letter) that states that mediation did not resolve the dispute
  • There may be further opportunities to attempt settlement as time goes on, and as more information becomes available. The parties may be better able to negotiate privately after a mediation session. The parties may also return for further mediation if both are willing to do so