What is mediation?
Mediation involves a meeting between people in dispute. One or more impartial, trained and nationally accredited mediator(s) conducts the mediation. The mediator helps parties discuss the issues, identify solutions and work towards a mutually acceptable agreement.
Is mediation a confidential process?
Yes, the mediation sessions are private. The Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1958 requires all staff and mediators at DSCV to keep all discussions confidential. Matters discussed in mediation cannot be used as evidence in court legal proceedings, unless all parties consent.
How long does mediation take?
Mediation usually takes 3-4 hours. It is important to ensure that you have set aside enough time for the mediation and make the necessary arrangements so that you are able to stay for the entire session.
Can any party be forced to attend mediation?
No, mediation is voluntary. If someone does not wish to attend mediation, it is not possible to compel him or her to attend. The exception to this is for civil matters referred specifically by the Magistrates' Court, which provides for compulsory mediation.
Do I have to be in the same room as the other person?
Yes. Mediation with the DSCV involves people being in the same room and discussing issues in a controlled environment. People are expected to listen to each other, be respectful of one another and allow the mediators to guide the process. During the mediation, both parties will be invited to have separate, private sessions with the mediators.
Can I bring a support person to the mediation?
Yes, you will need to advise DSCV staff prior to the mediation of the name of the person attending as a support person. The other person will need to agree to you bringing this person along as a support person.
The role of the support person is not to actively take part in the mediation but to support you during the mediation. The Dispute Assessment Office will assess whether the support person is suitable and will be helpful in the mediation and not escalate the conflict. Your Dispute Assessment officer will need to speak with support people to make sure that they are clear about their role.
Who attends the mediation?
All people involved in the dispute are encouraged to attend and participate in the mediation. However, it is a voluntary process, no one can be forced to attend and everyone must agree on who can attend before a mediation can proceed.
It is important that the people who are needed to make decisions about the outcome attend the mediation. It is possible for someone to attend with authority on the other person’s behalf but it will depend on the circumstances of the matter.
Where will the mediation be held?
Mediations are held at a range of convenient locations, as close to all parties as possible. These venues include DSCV offices and other approved venues that are suitable for mediation. The Dispute Assessment Officer managing your case will discuss the location and any accessibility needs you might have.
When will the mediation be held?
Mediations can usually be arranged within 2-3 weeks at a time suitable to all parties. Mediations are held during normal business hours and are scheduled for either a morning or afternoon session.
What does mediation cost?
There is no charge - mediation provided by DSCV is free.
What do the mediators actually do during the mediation?
Importantly, mediators remain neutral and do not take sides.
The mediators will:
- Control the process (parties control the content of what is covered)
- Create an environment where parties have a chance to hear and listen to each other in a respectful manner
- Help keep emotions in check
- Guide parties through discussions about the issues
- Make sure all relevant issues are covered
- Help parties explore a variety of options
- Provide time for privates sessions during the mediation
- Help parties write down details of any agreement reached.
Do I need to get legal advice?
You will not normally require any legal advice or representation during the mediation session. Our DAOs will explain the mediation process in detail to prepare you for the session. You may be referred to an external organisation for some legal advice prior to the mediation if necessary. Sometimes parties choose to formalise agreements through their legal representatives after the mediation session.
Will the mediators make a decision?
No, the mediators will manage the process of the mediation and assist both parties to reach agreement. The mediators will not make a decision or give any sort of judgement about the way in which the dispute should be resolved. The DSCV cannot enforce any agreements reached in mediation.
What are the mediators' qualifications?
All DSCV mediators are nationally accredited under the National Mediator Accreditation System. Mediators come from a wide range of professional backgrounds, which allows us to match mediator expertise with each mediation case.