Mediation helps people settle disputes without going to court. Taking part in mediation can save time, legal fees and court costs for you and the community.
Attending mediation is generally voluntary—for a mediation session to go ahead, both parties need to agree to attend. Before you apply for mediation you should be willing to meet with the other party to resolve the dispute.
The Dispute Resolution Centre will assess if the matter is suitable for mediation and schedule your mediation session at a time and location that is suitable to everyone involved. Mediation sessions can take around 3-4 hours.
Role of the mediator
Dispute Resolution Branch (DRB) mediators are trained and accredited to help people resolve disputes and reach a mutually agreed solution. Our mediators are impartial, meaning they don’t take sides. Mediation is also privileged—i.e. nothing you say during mediation can be used in court or shared with anyone.
Our mediators don’t give advice or pass judgment. They guide you through a structured process, create an environment where all parties have a chance to speak and be heard and keep the discussion going smoothly so you and the other party can find your own solutions.
Disputes that suit mediation
The most common disputes dealt with by mediation are:
- neighbourhood disputes involving fences, noise, children, pets and overhanging trees
- family and intergenerational disputes
- workplace disputes
- commercial disputes
- disputes relating to relationship separation
- property settlement disputes
- multi-party disputes, sometimes involving whole communities.
Who can apply
Before you apply for mediation, you should be willing to meet with the other party to resolve the dispute.
You can't apply if your dispute relates to criminal charges currently before the court.
How to apply
You will need to give us the phone number or address of the person you are in dispute with.
If there is a court order in place preventing you from contacting the other person, we will need to see a copy of it. You can attach it to this application, or send it to us later.
What happens next
When you submit this form, it will be automatically received by your local Dispute Resolution Centre. Your application will help us decide whether your matter is suitable for mediation. We will contact you by letter, email or phone within 2 days to discuss your dispute in more detail.
If we agree your matter is suitable for mediation, we will contact the other party and offer mediation. If the other party agrees to attend, we will complete an intake and assessment process with them. If the matter is suitable we will set up a date and time that suits all parties involved.
For more information, contact your nearest Dispute Resolution Centre.
Mediation and the law
Mediation is not a legal process. DRB mediators can't give legal advice, decide who is right or wrong, or force people to reach an agreement.
If you have any questions about your legal rights and responsibilities you should get legal advice before attending a mediation session.
Matters before the court
If you are involved in a legal process with the person you’re in dispute with, your matter may not be suitable for mediation. After you apply, we will contact you to discuss your dispute in more detail before making an assessment.
Matters involving court orders
If there is a domestic violence order or peace and good behaviour order in place, the order may prevent you from meeting with the other person. You may still be able to take part in mediation, but we will need to see a copy of the order to assess whether the mediation can go ahead. You can attach it to this application, or send it to us later.
Read more on domestic violence and how to report it.
Making agreements legally binding
Usually, an agreement reached in mediation is not legally binding, but it can be made enforceable by including a statement saying that you want it to be legally binding. If an agreement is made legally binding, only the agreement itself can later be used as evidence.
Other types of mediation
If you have been referred to mediation by QCAT you may need to take part in abbreviated mediation.
You can choose to take part in adult restorative justice conferencing if you have been involved in an incident as:
- a person who has been harmed
- a person who has committed an offence.
Read more on:
- Mediation for separating couples.
- Mediation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
- Mediation in the workplace.
- Neighbourhood mediation.