Is Mediation Right for Me?

The high profile defamation proceedings recently launched in the WA Supreme Court by former defence minister, Linda Reynolds, against Brittany Higgins and David Sharaz have been referred to mediation by the Judge presiding over the Case. He feels that the parties could use two full days of mediation to try to resolve the dispute between them, noting his concerns about the “human cost of the litigation”.  Christian Porter used mediation to resolve his defamation dispute with the ABC in 2021, as did Christine Holgate in her employment dispute with Australia Post.

What does this mean for Court proceedings? And what is mediation anyway?

Mediation has been used for centuries to resolve disputes between parties in conflict. History is littered with treaties and peace accords that have come about by getting warring parties around the table to actually speak to each other. Mediators are skilled at resolving conflict in situations where both parties probably felt that there was never going to be any prospect of that occurring. Clearly, Justice Solomon in the Reynolds case feels that the parties there could do with mediating to try to resolve the issues between them.

In the past decade, a number of high profile Court cases have been resolved by skilled mediators, including one of the largest defamation cases in US history earlier this year.  Rupert Murdoch and Dominion Voting Machines were able to settle their nearly billion dollar dispute in mediation after months of litigation that caused a great deal of reputational damage to Fox News.

Disputes about wills and inheritances are also commonly resolved with mediation, and a high profile example of that was the 2020 dispute following the death of Bob Hawke and the distribution of his estate. Our estates lawyers commonly attend mediations to resolve these types of tragic disputes that can occur between beneficiaries dividing up an estate.

Our firm has a mediation arm, Macarthur Mediations, with two accredited and highly experienced mediators to assist parties in conflict to reach agreement. Our most common mediations occur in the family law sphere helping people to resolve issues surrounding the living arrangements for their children and how to divide up their assets and liabilities. But we also regularly conduct mediations in other areas of law, including conveyancing and property disputes.

Have a look at our website for information about the mediation process and our fees. Mediations can be booked in initially for a half day (4 hours), but with plenty of capacity to continue talking if the mediation is going well. We also have a calendar on the website for booking enquiries. Our mediators have a very good success rate at helping people resolve their disputes so, if you find yourself in a position of conflict with someone in your family or even a neighbour, consider mediation as a viable alternative to resolve dispute rather than litigation in the Court system.

Mediation is the facilitation of difficult conversations between parties.  Let us help you with that.