Mediation is an option provided for both minor and general civil claims and is separate to mediation via the Final Notice of Claim process.

Both parties attend a meeting with a third person, called a mediator. A mediator is a neutral person who will sit with the parties while they try to negotiate an outcome that suits both sides.

Mediation is an informal meeting and there won’t be any pressure on you to come to an agreement if you aren’t satisfied with the outcome. It is best if you can negotiate an agreement, but you won’t be forced to accept an arrangement you aren't comfortable with. The mediator will help both parties discuss the matter civilly to try and agree to a settlement. Mediation is confidential so anything you say will not be repeated and can’t be used against you in court.

Mediation via the Final Notice of Claim process

Mediation is an optional step after a final notice has been served by the party claiming the money, and where the other party has not paid. The aim is to try to resolve the dispute without going to court. Mediation won’t always resolve the matter but it is worth trying, as it will save you time and money if you don’t have to go to court.

Either party is able to organise mediation. If you decide you want to try mediation, you will need to speak with the court’s Mediation Unit. You can contact them through the contact centre on +61 8 8204 2444, email them at mediation@courts.sa.gov.au or you can send a letter to:

The Manager of Mediation
Adelaide Magistrates Court (Civil)
Level 1 / Adelaide Magistrates Court Building
260-280 Victoria Square
Adelaide 5000

The Mediation Unit will contact the other party for you to see if they would like to participate. If both parties have spoken previously and agreed to mediation, you may let them know that both of you agree to participate. The mediation itself will usually be held about two weeks after all parties have agreed to it and informed the Mediation Unit.

You can’t force someone to take part in mediation. They are entitled to decline to mediate, without any affect on the outcome if the matter ends up in court. If they do refuse, the Mediation Unit will let you know that they don’t wish to participate.

If mediation isn’t going to take place and there is still no resolution to the matter, the party wishing to recover the money may proceed to lodging a claim, which commences the formal legal action. That party must wait 21 days after the final notice is given before starting the formal action.

See Making a Claim for further information.

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Mediation when legal action has started

After formal legal action has commenced, the court can refer the case to mediation with or without the consent of the parties.  However, it is ultimately up to you whether to enter into an arrangement made in mediation. Just remember that if this fails, the legal action may continue through to trial.

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Mediator

Mediation will be conducted by a qualified mediator who has received formal training and is an accredited mediator.  The Magistrates Court has a Panel of Mediators that you can choose from.  If you cannot agree on a mediator with the other party the Registrar will appoint one for you.

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Cost

The cost of mediation will be shared equally between you and the other party.  The Court may order that your half share be paid into Court by a certain date.  If no order is made then the mediation will not be arranged until you and the other party pay the half share.

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Mediation venues

Mediations can be held at Magistrates Court locations (Adelaide, Christies Beach, Elizabeth or Port Adelaide and Country Magistrates Courts).  The mediator may also choose to conduct the mediation at a location of their choice.  The Mediation Unit will make the appropriate arrangements and notify you of the date, time, and place that the mediation will take place.

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The mediator will start the discussion by informing you about the mediation process and explaining to you what will happen in the mediation itself. The mediator will ask both parties to make a brief opening statement about the dispute. The mediator will summarise both parties’ statements and assist in identifying the issues that need some discussion. You will then have the opportunity to discuss these issues and try to resolve them. You are able to speak freely in the mediation but the mediator will guide the discussion, so you don’t need to feel overwhelmed or confused.

Remember to listen to the other party and not get angry or frustrated, as this will probably not lead to agreement. You shouldn’t feel threatened or be afraid to make suggestions. The mediator is there to ensure that each person is heard and respected.

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Preparing for mediation

You can prepare for mediation by considering what the dispute is about and deciding what you want the other party to hear. It may be helpful to make a checklist of the main issues you want discussed and your main concerns. You might also want to consider some answers to the issues you think might be important to the other party. It can be useful if you have ideas of possible outcomes and what you would be willing to concede. Mediation is not about forcing the other party over to your point of view. It is about both parties negotiating to find an agreement they can live with. You should also prepare all your evidence and bring it to the meeting.

The best preparation is to come to mediation with an open mind and be prepared to discuss alternatives. Remember that it is in the best interests of both parties to come to an agreement and avoid formal court proceedings.

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If mediation is not successful

Even if you both try, mediation will not always produce an outcome that everyone is happy with. It may be that the matter will proceed to formal legal action or to trial if there is no resolution. It is possible to return to mediation at a later date, upon referral by the court, at any stage of the proceedings.

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Advantages of mediation

The following are just some of the advantages of mediation.

  • Lower costs and more flexible results – In most cases, a successful resolution through mediation means all parties save costs. You also have the opportunity to reach more flexible solutions to suit your needs.
  • Speedier Resolution of a Dispute - Mediation is usually quick - helping you to get an early resolution.
  • Greater Control over Outcome - Mediation gives you more control over the process and the outcome. This means that the agreement is more likely to be honoured.
  • Privacy and Confidentiality - The mediation is confidential and any agreement can also be kept confidential by agreement.

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Forms, Fees and Rules

Related Links

Contact Us

For further information, contact the Call Centre:
 
p: +61 8 8204 2444
enquiry@courts.sa.gov.au