In addition to hearing of disputes, the Magistrates’ Court currently provides the following Appropriate Dispute Resolution options:

1. Pre-hearing Conference (registrars); Mediation (registrars and other acceptable mediators) and Early Neutral Evaluation (magistrates) in civil proceedings and in the Workcover List;
2. Mediation in claims brought in the Industrial Division (judicial registrars); and,
3. Mediation of small claims and intervention order proceedings (Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria "DSCV”).

How are matters selected for mediation?

The process applies to claims exceeding $30,000. After receipt of a defence to a claim, a registrar will review the case and decide whether the case appears to be suitable for mediation, particularly whether the dispute is complex. (Some matters will, at this point, be referred directly to pre-hearing conference or be considered for Early Neutral Evaluation.)

The parties will be informed of the Court’s intention to refer the matter to mediation and will be given 21 days to raise with the registrar any matters that would be relevant to a decision about mediation or when the mediation should occur. The parties may agree on a mediator at this time, and they must inform the registrar of those details.

If no issues are raised by the parties, a mediation order will be made 21 days after the date on the notice.

Who can mediate?

The Magistrates’ Court defines “acceptable mediator” in Rule 50.05 of the Magistrates’ Court General Civil Procedure Rules 2010. Mediators may be:

  • registrars or deputy registrars of the court
  • legal practitioners
  • mediators with the DSVC or
  • other agreed mediators.

The parties must make arrangements directly with their preferred mediator, including the payment of fees.

The Court has approved a list of mediators that have national mediator accreditation under the Australian National Mediator Accreditation System called the Single List of External Mediators (“SLEM”). The list is available from the Single List of External Mediators page on the left. A copy of the list will be supplied with a mediation order.

How is mediation arranged?

Within 14 days of the mediation order, the parties must nominate a mediator and notify the registrar of the agreed details.
The parties should consult with each other to agree on the mediator, the time, date and place of the mediation, and how each party will contribute to mediation fees.
The mediator may be from the SLEM or from outside the list, including a registrar or deputy registrar (inquiries need to be made with the appropriate registrar before a registrar or deputy registrar is selected).
When the mediator is nominated from the list, the parties must advise the mediator that the nomination arises from the SLEM.

What happens when the parties can’t agree on a mediator?

Where the parties have not informed the registrar of their mediation details after 14 days of the order, the Court will appoint a mediator from the SLEM, subject to the mediator’s availability. The mediation will be completed within 30 days of the nomination and appointment of the mediator. A registrar will not be available.

Who pays for mediation with a SLEM mediator?

The parties must contribute in agreed proportions to the fees of the mediator and the cost of the mediation venue. SLEM mediators will make arrangements directly with the parties for payment. Mediators nominated from the SLEM have agreed to charge a flat fee of $1,320.00 (inclusive of GST), the cost of the mediation venue is in addition to the mediation fee.

When the mediator is nominated from the list, the parties must advise the mediator that the nomination arises from the SLEM at the flat fee.

What happens after mediation?

When a mediation order is made, a blank copy of the Mediation Report (Form 50A) will also be supplied to the parties. The form should be given to the mediator who must complete it and return it to the registrar within 7 days of completion of the mediation. The parties may provide to the registrar minutes of consent order in respect of the further conduct of the proceeding.

Where a proceeding is unresolved after mediation, it will be listed for hearing. The parties must inform the mediator or the registrar of the number of witnesses to be called and the expected duration of the hearing.

Parties should refer to Rule 50.12 in relation to time limits for interlocutory steps.

Single List of External Mediators

For the full list of external mediators please download the Single List of External Mediators publication, which can be downloaded from the Related Publications Menu.

Biographical sketches of the mediators are available via the following links:

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