The mediator will help the parties (and their lawyers if they have them) talk to each other, in a respectful and safe environment before going to court. After mediation the parties may reach an agreement and avoid a court trial altogether. Parties talk through a problem and reach their own agreement with the support of the mediator.
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. In civil cases, many courts now require the parties to go to mediation, often with a court officer as mediator, to try to end the case or narrow the issues in dispute before going to a final hearing or 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 during the mediation.
Mediation is generally a confidential process and will not form part of any court hearing. However, it is important to speak with your mediator at the start to ensure you understand how confidentiality applies to your particular situation.
Aboriginal Mediation Service
The Department’s Aboriginal Mediation Service (AMS) assists Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to resolve conflicts before they escalate or result in court action. AMS conflict resolution services are culturally appropriate, voluntary, confidential and available statewide. The service is free and may assist in family, burial, community or neighbour conflicts but is not available in matters of family law. If the matter is suitable for mediation, a mediator will be allocated to facilitate the process. If the matter is not suitable for mediation, alternative options will be discussed with the parties.
Most civil cases are resolved through mediation before going to trial, and in many cases the court will order that you attend court assisted mediation. 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'.
There are many mediation services available in Western Australia. Learn more about the the Aboriginal Mediation Unit or visit the relevant Court links below for further information. Alternatively visit the Legal Aid - Mediation and dispute resolution page to find a service that fits your circumstances.