How to arrange mediation

There are many different services that provide mediation. This page lists some of these services and provides links to where you can find more information.

    Community Justice Centres

    Community Justice Centres (CJC) provides free mediation services. CJC mediators can mediate in different sorts of matters including neighbour disputes, community disputes, small debts and disputes at work.

    You can arrange mediation at CJC by contacting C​JC.

    If you ask CJC to arrange mediation, CJC staff will contact the other people involved in your dispute and invite them to mediate. If the other people agree, mediation may be arranged as soon as one week after your first call. Mediation at CJC is free.

    The CJC​ website provides a range of resources to help you prepare for mediation.

    Mediation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

    People Community Justice Centres (CJC) has a program to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people mediate disputes and it has Aboriginal mediators. For more information on this program, go to the CJC web​site.

    Mediation in employment matters

    If you make an unfair dismissal or general protections application to the Fair Work Commission (the Commission), you will be asked to attend a conciliation conference before your case goes to a hearing. A conciliation conference is very similar to mediation and the information on this site about preparing for mediation will help you prepare for a conciliation conference. For more information on conciliation in employment matters, go to the Fair Work Commission website.

    If you make a complaint to the Fair Work Ombudsman you may also be asked to attend a mediation conference. For more information on this process, go to the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

    Mediation in family law matters

    Family Dispute Resolution

    Family Dispute Resolution is a process for resolving disputes about the care of children in family matters.

    In Family Dispute Resolution, the people involved (for example parents, grandparents) meet with a mediator to talk through problems and try to come to an agreement. If you want to apply to a family law court for a parenting order (an order about children), you first need a certificate to say you have attempted Family Dispute Resolution.

    There are some exceptions (for example, urgent matters or situations involving violence or child abuse). For more information on exemptions, go to Family Relationships Online.

    If you think one of these exemptions applies to you, or you have another reason why you don't want to try family dispute resolution, you should get legal advice.

    You need to use an accredited (approved) person to do this sort of mediation. It can be provided by private providers or by government Family Relationship Centres. You can find contact details for accredited FDR providers on the Family Dispute Resolution Register.

    Hint icon  The mediator in family matters is called a "Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner".

    For more information on Family Dispute Resolution:

    Dispute Resolution Conferences in the Children's Court

    The Children's Court can refer care and protection cases to a Dispute Resolution Conference (DRC) run by a court registrar or for mediation by an independent mediator. This is done before a case goes to hearing. At a DRC, the registrar does not make decisions, but helps the parties to identify issues and try to come to an agreement.

    For more information, go to the Children's Court website or get legal advice.

    Private mediators

    There are private mediators who offer mediation services for a fee. Some may specialise in a particular industry or type of dispute. Private mediators will charge for mediations and the cost will often depend on how long the mediation lasts.

    To find a private mediator you can:

    Court or tribunal referrals to mediation

    In some cases, a court or tribunal can refer you and the other party directly to mediation before it hears your case.

    For example:

    • In Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO) cases, the Local Court can refer the parties to mediation.
    • In small claims debt matters, the Local Court can order that the parties try mediation and adjourn the case so they can do this.
    • In fencing disputes, the Local Court or the Local Land Board can refer the parties to mediation and adjourn (postpone) the case so that the parties can first attend the mediation.

    If you have a matter before the Local Court and you would like to try mediation, you should ask for a referral to mediation on the first date the case is listed (in small claims matters this is called the Pre Trial Review). In most cases you will be referred to Community Justice​ Centres for mediation.

    For more information on small claims matters, see the Debt - Small Claims section of this website. For more information on AVO matters, see the Apprehended Violence Orders section of this website. For more information on fencing matters, see the Fences section of this website.

    If you come to an agreement at mediation, if all parties agree, you can ask the court or tribunal to make 'consent orders' in the same terms as your agreement. If the court does this, it means the agreement can b​e enforced in the same way as other orders of the court. If you are not sure whether you would like the court to make consent orders in the same terms as your agreement, you should get legal advice. For more information about agreements reached at mediation, see What happens at mediation?