Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Conflict Resolution Service?
The Conflict Resolution Service is a not for profit community organisation delivering dispute settlement services to the greater Canberra area. CRS' core business is dispute advice and mediation.
Our dispute assessment line is a free service to give advice and referral about your dispute. If the dispute is assessed as suitable and you wish to go ahead we can arrange mediation for you.
CRS also offers training to organisations in a range of topics surrounding dispute management and mediation training to individuals.
- What is mediation?
- Why mediate?
Mediation provides an informal environment in which you can discuss and develop solutions to your disputes. It is an alternative to court and can help resolve disputes that are not otherwise regulated by law such as friendship disputes. Mediation doesn't involve passing judgement and as the parties reach agreement together they are more committed to the outcomes. Around 80% of mediations result in an agreement, but even if no agreement is reached mediation can help clarify issues and allow you to understand each others point of view.
- How do I arrange mediation?
To arrange a mediation you must first contact our dispute assessment line. See how the service works for more information.
- How much does it cost?
- When and where can mediations be held?
- How quickly can mediations be organised?
Before mediation, each person involved in the dispute must agree to be interviewed by a Dispute Assessment Officer in order for CRS to decide if the dispute is suitable for mediation and what is the best way for CRS to assist everyone. Once this process is completed, mediation can usually be arranged within 2 – 4 weeks.
Timing of mediation depends on how quickly parties respond to CRS requests for information, dates for client availability and in very few cases making sure CRS has mediators available.
Some types of disputes may take longer to reach mediation because of the number of people involved who need to be interviewed; or in cases involving Family Law issues where CRS needs to be assured parties have obtained legal advice before attending mediation.
CRS will assess each situation on a case by case basis to determine the urgency of how quickly meditation needs to occur. This may happen if parties have an upcoming court date or, a particular event is coming up and parties need to resolve their issues before that time.
- How long does mediation take?
- Can I be made to go to mediation or make someone else come?
Mediation is an entirely voluntary process. You cannot be forced to come to mediation and likewise you cannot force anyone else to attend.
- Are agreements in mediation legally binding? Can they be used in court?
Agreements in mediation are not legally binding however because the parties come to the agreements together they are often more committed to them. Statements and admissions made in mediation are without prejudice and cannot be used in court.
- Can I get legal advice? Can I bring a lawyer?
You may obtain legal advice at any time, and it is encouraged in many disputes such as for separating couples so that everyone understands their rights and responsibilities. Generally there is no need for a lawyer to attend, but you may bring one if you want and if the other party agrees. Some people ask for their lawyer to be available by telephone in case they need advice during a mediation.
- Can I contact the service anonymously?
You may contact the service anonymously, however we can only contact the other party or arrange mediation if you give us your name and contact details. The other party does not need to be told your name until after they agree to go to mediation if you do not wish. We only provide your name to the other person if we have your permission.
- What if the other person won't even speak to me?
We will attempt to contact the other person to offer our assistance and discuss the dispute. If the other person refuses to discuss the dispute with us, or does not wish to go to mediation, then we will not continue to arrange a mediation. But if this happens, you can still talk to our staff about other options for you to try to settle or manage the conflict.
- How can I become a mediator?
- Are the mediators qualified?
Please refer to information on registration and selection of mediators.
- How is the Conflict Resolution Service funded?