The Australian Mediation Process
Mediation is an aspect of the dispute resolution process. Participants to a dispute come together, with the aid of a mediator acting as an independent and impartial third party to support them, to come to a mutually acceptable decision to resolve the issue at hand. Put simply it is a negotiation process where the mediator acts a moderator or guide in conflict resolution.
The mediation process should –
- identify the issues at the root of a problem
- identify and develop strategies for reconciliation
- from the strategies select options
- develop action plans to implement the chosen options
- state the outcomes expected, and
- develop monitoring processes
Mediation seeks to find balance
The mediator’s role includes assisting participants to –
- identify, explore and clarify the matter(s) under dispute
- generate strategies and select options
- consider alternative processes to resolve issues
- come to an agreement how the issue will be moved forward or concluded
- work toward fruitful and respectful future communication for self determination by the participants
The mediator has the role of a facilitator. It is the participants who ultimately make the decisions about the future actions and outcomes. The mediator really manages the process.
When The Mediator in Mediation Becomes An Adviser
Where the mediator has expertise in a certain area, for example is a legal practitioner specialising in Family Law, there may be an advisory role provided by the mediator. If the participants agree to receiving advice the expert’s knowledge and advice should enhance the decision-making of the participants. It is important that participants clearly consent to this guidance from the mediator. This is often described as guided or advisory mediation and may be considered a conciliation, arbitration or evaluative mediation process.
Participants to the dispute resolution process have a clear responsibility to obtain their own legal or expert advice in the relevant area as mediation complements this advice and provides a medium for a solution to the problem to be found.
Mediation may not be suitable for all problem resolution situations and individuals should consider their personal circumstances when going into the mediation process.
Areas that mediation has been used very successfully include–
- Family disputes
- Disputes between neighbours
- Building construction disputes
- Workplace problems
- Issues with pets
Mediation in Australia can only be officially conducted by registered mediators who are required to meet certain professional standards and maintain professional development activities as prescribed by authorities. There are areas covered by Federal Law, others by State Laws and mediation is also used to cover disputes in the jurisdiction of local government.
Discover more about required professional standards for mediators at the Mediator Standards Board
Using an appropriately registered mediator should provide anyone seeking mediation that they will be treated with respect by an experienced and well trained and supervised professional.
Jennifer Boulton is a professional colleague and specialises in Family Law and is a registered Mediator. If you’d like an introduction to her please just contact me Chris here at ProfiTrain and I’ll let Jenny know.
Alternatively you can complete the form below and an email will be sent to her.
Mediation is be a powerful resource when participants are willing to participate and seek resolution of their conflict.