Court-annexed mediation

What is court-annexed mediation

Court-annexed mediation is where a registrar or other officer of the Court is the mediator.

The registrars and officers who conduct mediations are qualified as mediators. Parties cannot select which registrar will mediate their dispute. Registrars conducted 683 mediations during 2010, with 51% of disputes being resolved by the close of the session. This percentage does not include the cases that reached an agreed resolution shortly after their mediation session.

The mediation usually takes place at the King Street complex. There is no charge for the mediator or use of rooms.

The mediation listing will appear in the Court List. Unlike a court hearing, however, mediation sessions are closed to public observers.

The court-annexed mediation program is popular and there is usually about 4-6 weeks' waiting time for court-annexed mediation. However, if the Court orders that the mediation be conducted urgently, this can be accommodated.

How are court-annexed mediations arranged?

Parties should present the order for mediation to the Mediations Clerk in the Registry on Level 5. There is no need to take a Registry service ticket.

To contact the Mediations Clerk:

(612) 9230 8104 or (612) 9230 8081
(or, if using the phone outside the Level 5 registry, simply phone extension 8104 or 8081).

At the time the parties present the order, the Mediations Clerk will complete the booking of the mediation. This should take only a few minutes, providing the parties can agree on a date.

Who should attend court-annexed mediation?

Each party should attend the mediation:

  • if the party is an individual, he or she must attend in person.
  • if the party is a company, or if an insurer is handling the case, then an officer who has authority to sign a binding settlement is to attend.

If there is some reason why this is not possible or necessary, the approval of the registrar-mediator must be sought at the earliest possible opportunity.

How long will it take?

Court-annexe​d mediation sessions are usually scheduled to last half a day. Some mediations require longer than this, so parties should be prepared to allow extra time. It is unusual for court-annexed mediation sessions to last more than one day.

The waiting time, from booking the mediation, is usually about 4-6 weeks. However, if the Court orders that the mediation is to take place urgently, this can be accommodated.

What preparation is required?

General preparation

Parties should be ready to attend the mediation with the purpose of achieving an acceptable resolution of the dispute. This usually involves some compromise. It is the duty of each party to participate in good faith. A mediator can terminate a mediation session and make a report to the Court if that duty is breached.

Each party is to attend the mediation in person if an individual or by an officer who has authority to settle if the party is a company or if an insurer controls the proceedings.

Parties should be prepared to treat all participants in the mediation with common courtesy.

Parties should have thought about the issues that are important to them, and possible options for resolving these. Each party will be given the opportunity to discuss their issues uninterrupted at the mediation.

Parties should also have thought about what their best outcome would be, and also the extent to which they would be prepared to compromise.

Parties should be aware of their legal costs to date, and future legal costs if the case proceeds to a court hearing. Parties should understand that if they if they proceed to hearing but the judgment goes against them, they can be ordered to pay the legal costs of the successful party.

Document preparation

For Court of Appeal cases:
Each party is to inform all other parties and the mediator by letter of what it regards as the issues to be mediated.

For cases other than those in the Court of Appeal:
Parties must serve sufficient evidentiary material to enable a settlement to be reached at mediation. Unless other arrangements have been approved by the registrar-mediator before the mediation, the evidentiary material will include:

  1. For equity and probate cases - affidavit evidence which discloses material in support of the claim or defence. In mediations under the Family Provision Act, the defendant must comply prior to the mediation date with Schedule J of the Supreme Court Rules.
  2. For common law cases - expert reports and valuations.

Parties should consult about matters such as expert reports or valuations that will be necessary to effect settlement. Jointly retained experts may be utilised in an endeavour to keep down costs. In the absence of common ground between the parties with respect to matters such as valuations, the parties should serve before the mediation the material upon which they rely to support their position.

All affidavits served in the proceedings should be supplied as a tender bundle to the registrar-mediator one week before the mediation.

Where are court annexed mediations held?

The court-annexed mediation sessions are conducted at the King Street Courthouse, located on the south-east corner of King and Elizabeth Streets, Sydney. Enter from King Street and take the lift or stairs to the mediation rooms on the first floor. Use the map and other visitor information to find your way to the King Street building.

How soon can I book a court-annexed mediation? 

This information is published at the end of the daily Court Lists. Select the required Court List and then scroll to the end of it to see the relevant notice.

How much does mediation cost? 

Information about mediation costs