If you need to appear before the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) about a minor civil dispute, you might be referred to mediation. This allow you to try to settle your matter before the tribunal will make the decision for you.
A trained mediator helps both parties discuss the dispute and agree on a solution. This process is called abbreviated mediation because it usually takes only about an hour. It usually occurs at a courthouse, Dispute Resolution Centre (DRC) or other neutral venue.
There are differences between courts as to when the mediation will take place (i.e. the day your case is to be heard, the day before or another day). Your Magistrates Court or DRC can explain which process applies in your area.
Benefits of abbreviated mediation
Abbreviated mediation lets you and the other party retain ‘ownership’ of the matter to be negotiated.
It can also reduce the time you have to spend at court. Abbreviated mediation can take as little as an hour.
Generally, 50% of abbreviated mediations reach agreement. However, if you can't reach agreement, the tribunal will hear your matter.
Matters suitable for abbreviated mediation
The following matters might be suitable for abbreviated mediation:
* unpaid debts
* dishonoured cheques
* owed wages
* disputes about dividing fences
* disagreements over work done
* consumer/trader issues
* property damage from vehicles
* some tenancy matters.
Arranging abbreviated mediation
If QCAT refers you to mediation for a minor civil dispute, QCAT will send you a letter that either sets down the date and time of your mediation or says that the DRC will contact you to organise the details.
- Read more about QCAT's mediation process.