Law Society Mediation Program
The Law Society Mediation Program assists people wishing to resolve a dispute through confidential, face-to-face mediation sessions. The Program is aimed at people who want to avoid going to Court and who are willing to negotiate in good faith with the opposing party to reach a settlement.
Why use the Law Society Mediation Program?
- High success rate – Over 1,000 disputes have been mediated by the Program, with 70 per cent reaching an agreed settlement.
- Experienced mediators – All mediators are qualified solicitors who meet stringent selection criteria and undergo advanced mediation training.
- High quality – The Program has been running since 1991 and is based on best-practice principles of mediation.
How the Program works
Upon the receipt of initial fees from both parties, the Law Society appoints a mediator, who is an independent and experienced solicitor, in consultation with the parties and their legal representatives.
The mediator arranges a preliminary conference at a time and location convenient for the parties. The parties, their solicitors and other advisors must attend the conference to sign the Law Society Agreement to Mediate, which defines the roles of all participants.
After all participants have signed the Agreement, the mediator will conduct the mediation session. This may be held straight after the preliminary conference or at another time.
During the mediation session, the mediator helps the parties identify the cause and nature of the dispute, explore options and negotiate a settlement. The mediator does not impose a solution or offer legal advice.
Where settlement is achieved at the conclusion of the mediation, the parties will be expected to give effect to their agreement in the best possible way. In most cases this will involve one of the parties giving consent or agreeing to be bound by terms of settlement and such agreements may be converted into Consent Orders.
What does it cost?
Each party to the dispute is initially required to pay a fee to the Law Society, that covers an administration charge and the mediator's fee for a:
- preliminary conference of up to one hour, and
- mediation session of up to three hours.
$825 (including GST) per party - this includes a Law Society administration charge of $165 (the old fees apply to all requests and referrals received prior to 1 January 2011).
If the mediation session extends beyond the initial three hours, the parties will be charged at an hourly rate as determined in the preliminary conference.
The cost of venue hire is the responsibility of the parties.
The mediation fee is refundable if a party withdraws prior to the preliminary conference. If the withdrawal occurs after the preliminary conference and before the mediation session, half the mediation fee is refundable. These fees may be subject to change.
Where a party is not an actual person (such as an organisation or company) it will need to be represented by a properly authorised person with authority to settle the matter, within any range that can reasonably be anticipated. Parties may have one or more persons, including a solicitor, to assist and advise them during the mediation.
How to apply
To apply, parties need to:
- Complete an online Mediation Program application form or contact the Dispute Resolution Legal Officer on (02) 9926 0214.
- Pay the initial mediation fee.
- Once the fee is received from both parties, the Law Society will appoint a mediator.
For more information, including a copy of the Law Society Agreement to Mediate, download the Dispute Resolution Kit.