Mediation is a timely dispute resolution service in which a mediator assists parties to discuss their differences and find a solution that suits them all.
What does a mediator do?
The mediator acts as an independent third party and guides the participants through a structured mediation process. The mediator is not there to make a decision about who is right or wrong, but assists both parties in reaching an agreement.
What are the benefits of mediation?
- can save time and money by avoiding a QCAT hearing
- is a lot less formal than a hearing (no witnesses or experts involved)
- allows you to come up with your own solutions and agreements
- allows you to have your say, listen to the other parties’ points of view and weigh up options
- allows more options for resolving the dispute than the limited orders an adjudicator can make
- is confidential, so your discussions won’t be referred to at a hearing unless you agree
- can provide useful information to those involved in the dispute
- can result in a win/win outcome for both parties.
You should read all documentation associated with the application which has been lodged at QCAT. You should try to look at the dispute from the perspective of the other party or parties, and think about different ways of solving the dispute that might meet the needs and concerns of all parties.
Participants are encouraged to bring anything along which may assist to communicate their concerns or perspective to the other person. This may be in the form of receipts, photos, invoices or statements.
Attending in person
Ensure you arrive at least 15 minutes before the start time outlined in the Notice of mediation. The other party will be there too.
Find your name or case number on the electronic listing board or list displayed in the registry. Go to the waiting area outside the room which has been set aside for your case, and sign the Mediation Sign-On Register.
You will be invited into the room once the mediator (the person responsible for conducting the mediation) is ready.
The mediator will introduce themself and ask the parties to introduce themselves. Generally the mediation is held in private and goes for around 1 hour and 15 minutes (depending on the complexity of the matter).
The discussions during the mediation cannot be used or referred to at the hearing unless the parties agree.
Attending by phone
If your claim is a Consumer Dispute or a Minor Debt, then you may attend mediation by phone. You need to contact QCAT five working days prior to mediation to confirm your contact details.
For all other types of applications, you need to lodge an Application for attendance at hearing, compulsory conference or mediation by remote conferencing .
How to behave during the mediation
Mediation is a well established and nationally recognised process which has been developed to assist the parties to reach a solution to their dispute.
Mediation will only work with the co-operation of all parties. Listen carefully to the mediator during the introduction. Speak clearly about the dispute when it is your turn. Avoid any aggression or disrespectful comments Listen to what the other party has to say, and don’t interrupt while they are speaking even if you disagree with them. You will have an opportunity to have your say.
What happens after the mediation
If the parties reach an agreement the mediator may record the terms of the agreement in writing and each party will then sign the mediation agreement and receive a copy.
The parties may request that the agreement be made an order of the tribunal.
If you are not able to reach an agreement the mediator will work with both parties to identify what issues are still in dispute and what issues have been resolved. This will be given to the tribunal.
If no agreement is reached at mediation, the matter will be set down for hearing on a different day.