Mediation is an informal way of solving a problem. It may help you and your neighbour resolve your fencing dispute without the need to go to court or the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).
Case study - Samah and Burt
Samah and Burt have been neighbours for some time. The fence dividing their properties is 75cm tall and in good condition. Samah and her partner would like a taller fence to improve the privacy and security of their backyard. Samah has tried to talk to Burt about getting a new taller fence, but Burt is happy with the existing fence.
Samah has asked Burt if he would like to go to mediation to try and resolve the issue.
What is mediation?
If you are not able to work things out with your neighbour yourself, it is time to get some help. Mediation is a process where an independent person, called a 'mediator', helps people in a dispute to reach agreement.
Mediation is confidential. A mediator does not make a decision for you and will not decide who is right or wrong. A mediator cannot give you legal advice. The mediator will try to help you and your neighbour resolve your dispute by letting you each have your say and then talking to you to work out what things you and your neighbour can agree on.
The advantage of mediation is that if you can reach an agreement with your neighbour, you will not have to go to court or the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).
Where can you find a mediator?
Community Justice Centres (CJCs) provide free mediation services throughout New South Wales.
CJCs regularly mediate disputes about fences, as well as disputes about other neighbour issues such as trees, noise, pets and access to land.
You can find CJC contact details on the
CJC website. You can contact a CJC by telephone, fax, letter or email.
There are also many private mediators that will conduct mediation services for a fee.
What happens in a CJC mediation?
When one neighbour contacts a CJC about a dispute, the CJC will contact the other neighbour to try and organise a time and a place that suits both neighbours to talk about the dispute.
The mediation involves two mediators. The mediators will usually ask each neighbour to talk about their concerns. Each person will have the chance to talk without being interrupted. The mediators will then help the neighbours to discuss their concerns. The mediators will usually meet with the parties separately. Everyone will then come together to continue talking about the issues in dispute. If the neighbours agree, the mediator may write a record of the agreement reached.
Agreement is reached in over 80% of CJC mediations. Any agreement that is reached at a CJC mediation will generally only be enforceable if you and your neighbour agree that it is a binding agreement.
For more information, see the Community Justice Centre website or telephone a mediation adviser at a CJC to talk about your dispute.
Do my neighbour and I have to go to mediation?
You do not have to go to mediation before serving a Fencing Notice, but it is a very good idea to try mediation.
Mediation is your chance to come to an agreement that both you and your neighbour can have some control over. If the case goes to the Local Court or NCAT then the magistrate or the tribunal member will make the decision about what fencing work should be done, not you.
If you have tried mediation but you still cannot agree with your neighbour and you want to get fencing work done, the next step is to serve a Fencing Notice. For more information, see
For answers to commonly asked questions, see Frequently Asked Questions.