You have the right to live in a peaceful neighbourhood. Therefore, disputes or disagreements between neighbours should be resolved as quickly as possible.
However, if talking with your neighbour hasn’t worked or things have deteriorated too far, mediation might help.
How mediation can help
Our Dispute Resolution Centres offer free mediation services to help you manage your neighbourhood disputes without going to court.
Mediation involves you attending a meeting with your neighbour and one or two mediators.
The mediators act as an impartial third party to guide you through a structured mediation process. They help you decide what you want to achieve and keep the discussion on track, ensuring everyone is heard.
The solution is one that you and your neighbour agree on. It is not imposed on you by anyone else.
When you reach an agreement, the mediators write it down and read it back to you, so you’re both clear about what you’ve agreed.
Mediation for neighbourhood disputes is free and completely confidential.
What a mediator does
- guide you and your neighbour through discussions about your concerns and issues to find solutions that may be acceptable to both of you
- are impartial (remain neutral)
- create an environment where you can both be heard equally, ensuring discussions don’t get out of control
- break the problem down into manageable issues
- make sure that all relevant issues are covered
- help you and your neighbour think of options to help resolve the dispute
- help you write down the details of any agreement you reach.
What a mediator doesn't do
Mediation is not a legal process and mediators do not:
- give legal advice
- take sides
- decide who is right or wrong
- make a decision for you
- suggest what should happen after the mediation
- force you to reach an agreement.
How to make the most of mediation
- approach your mediation session with an open mind, even if you and your neighbour have been in conflict for some time
- come to mediation with a range of options to consider
- participate as fully and cooperatively as possible
- be open and honest with your neighbour
- follow the ground rules set down for the mediation
- tell the mediators if you need a break at any time throughout the session.
You can contact one of our Dispute Resolution Centres yourself. Alternatively, a community organisation, a private solicitor, a magistrate, Legal Aid Queensland or a counsellor may refer you.
When you contact a Dispute Resolution Centre, staff will take some details about the dispute, and about you and the other party. If the matter is suitable for mediation, our staff will contact the other party, explain mediation and invite them to participate.
Your mediation session can usually take place within 2 weeks and may take up to 3-4 hours, depending on the issues involved.
Mediation will not work unless both sides are willing to participate.
Read a step-by-step guide to resolving disputes with neighbours.