Mediation and dispute resolution
What happens in mediation?
Mediation is an opportunity for the parties and their lawyers (if they have them) to talk through a problem and reach their own agreement, with the support of a mediator.
You do not have to agree to resolve your legal dispute at mediation – however, you do have to cooperate, listen to the views of other participants and consider options for resolution. Typically, mediation is used as a forum to identify issues, suggest options and to explore alternatives for resolving the legal dispute – some of which might not be available to you if you go to trial.
The mediator will speak directly to you and to the lawyers present, and you can speak openly. Each party will have an opportunity to explain their view of the dispute. Parties are encouraged to understand each other’s perspective. Options for how to settle or agree are developed and explored.
Where can I find mediation and dispute resolution services?
Legal Aid WA offers its own family dispute resolution (FDR) service for parents and families trying to make decisions about children, parenting or money after separation.
There are also many other dispute resolution services available in WA. We have listed some (but not all) of them below. These services are not run by Legal Aid WA. What they can do for you, and any conditions or costs for their services, is up to them to decide.
Aboriginal Mediation Service
A free service that aims to assist and work alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, groups and communities in a culturally safe manner to resolve conflicts including disputes about family, burial, community, neighbour, disputes between co-workers, and issues involving agencies and government services. Only one person involved in the dispute needs to be Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander for the service to assist. Contact the service on 1800 045 577 (freecall) or (08) 9264 6176.
Provides a range of counselling and mediation services. Staff mediate issues involving family relationships, neighbourhood disputes and employee relationship disputes. Contact Anglicare on (08) 9263 2000.
Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators
Details of members and information about what happens at mediation.
Family Relationship Centres
Provide information, advice and dispute resolution services to help people reach agreement on parenting arrangements without going to court. Located in Broome, Bunbury, Geraldton, Joondalup, Mandurah, Midland and Perth.
Relationships Australia WA
Provides a range of mediation services, including family relationship disputes, neighbourhood disputes, workplace disputes and family business disputes. Contact Relationships Australia WA on (08) 6164 0130 or 1300 364 277.
Details of dispute resolution practitioners, mediators and arbitrators throughout Australia.
Most civil cases in WA courts and tribunals are resolved before going to trial. One of the ways this is encouraged is through court-ordered mediation.
The mediation conference is commonly run a registrar of the court, who is also a trained and accredited mediator. In cases of particular complexity or difficulty, it is possible for court mediation conferences to be conducted by a judge. In those situations, to allow the parties to be completely open with the mediator, the judge involved in the mediation will not be the same judge who is involved in the trial or any other court hearings for that matter.
Like mediation that takes place outside court proceedings, what is said during a court mediation conference is confidential and cannot be used or repeated as evidence in court (except in relation to costs, if an offer of settlement was rejected).
Some courts offer more than one formal opportunity for the parties to discuss settlement during a case. This may sometimes go by a different name, such as 'a pre-trial conference'.
- Supreme Court of WA - Mediation
- District Court of WA - Mediation
- Magistrates Court of WA - Pre-trial conferences and Mediation
- State Administrative Tribunal - Alternative Dispute Resolution
Reviewed: 12 December 2021