Mediation is a way to resolve a legal dispute without going to trial. It is a flexible process where a neutral third party (the mediator):
Any party in the dispute may request mediation at any stage of the proceedings. However, all parties must agree to use mediation to resolve the dispute.
A judge may also refer your case for mediation at any time during any proceedings.
Some examples of common stages where the court may refer parties to mediation include the case management conference, pre-trial conference or summons for directions hearing.
Before you request mediation, refer to the following to find out if mediation is appropriate for your case.
Mediation is appropriate if you....
Mediation is not appropriate if you....
There are several benefits of choosing mediation over trial.
This means you will save on legal and court hearing fees that would have been spent on preparing for and going to trial.
In comparison, going to trial may take longer due to the processes of fact-finding and cross-examination to verify the accuracy of the facts presented to the court.
In comparison, for a trial, you will give up control to a judge who makes a decision based on the evidence you provide.
In comparison, a court trial is a formal process. The judge has to ensure that you follow court procedures and legal principles.
This means the discussions between parties during a mediation session will be confidential. If you and the other party reach a settlement, you may also decide to keep the details of what you have agreed to confidential.
In comparison, everything you say in a trial is evidence and may be used against you.
How you request mediation depends on which court hears your case.
You may request mediation by the State Courts' Court Dispute Resolution Cluster (CDRC).
Mediation by the CDRC is available for cases such as:
Alternatively, you may also choose to arrange for mediation to be conducted by other organisations.
For more information, please refer to:
If you wish to attend mediation, file the Court Dispute Resolution (CDR)/Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Form (Form 2, Appendix A1, State Courts Practice Directions 2021) via “Request for CDR” on eLitigation. The form should confirm that all parties consent to mediation and contain the parties’ available dates in the next two months to attend the mediation.
If your application is accepted by the CDRC, you will receive a letter notifying you of the date, time and venue of your mediation session. The other party will also receive this letter.
You need to attend the first mediation session regardless of whether you are represented by a lawyer. If you fail to attend the session without providing valid reasons, you will be deemed to be unwilling to attempt mediation. If the case proceeds to a trial, the court may take such conduct into account when making costs orders. (1)
There are no fees for mediation by the CDRC except for District Court cases where each party needs to pay $250.
Refer to this table for the exceptions and details:
Type of case
Cost of CDRC mediation
All Magistrate's Court cases
District Court cases:
All other District Court cases
Each party pays $250
Other cases not mentioned above (such as for a tribunal case or Magistrate's Complaint)
If you wish to attend mediation, file the ADR Offer (Form 4, Supreme Court Practice Directions) via eLitigation and serve a copy on the other party.
If the other party is willing to attempt mediation, they will file a Response to ADR Offer (Form 5, Supreme Court Practice Directions) and serve a copy on you.
The court may then give directions for your case, such as to set a timeline for mediation to complete, or to adjourn pending court proceedings. You will need to arrange for mediation with a relevant organisation.
If the other party fails to respond to the ADR Offer, they will be deemed to be unwilling to attempt mediation without providing any reasons. If the case proceeds to a trial, the court may take such conduct into account when making costs orders. (2)
The Supreme Court does not offer mediation services. If the court approves your request, you need to arrange for mediation with an organisation of your choice.
For more information, please refer to:
The information here is for general guidance as the courts do not provide legal advice. If you need further help, you may want to get independent legal advice.Find out more
Legislation associated with this topic includes:
(1) (2) Order 59, Rule 5(1)(c) of the Rules of Court