Dispute resolution service

Please note: While we are not currently offering in-person services, you can still access support through a number of other ways – phone, email, live chat, video appointment and workshops.

We offer a free dispute resolution service to assist small businesses in resolving disputes with other businesses or government departments.

The service is easy to access, affordable, confidential and generally resolves disputes quickly, allowing you to get back to running your business sooner.

Parties can choose to use the service as an alternative to going to court however that option is always open. It is important to note that participation in the service is voluntary for all parties involved. Only willing participants can be assisted by our impartial case managers to establish common ground, which may resolve the dispute. Unlike a court or tribunal, we don’t have powers to compel anyone to negotiate or cooperate and therefore cannot provide assistance if any party refuses to participate.

The service is overseen by the WA Small Business Commissioner.

Speaking to an adviser

Before being referred to the dispute resolution service, you will generally speak to one of our general advisers who will ask you to provide the details relating to the dispute and offer practical advice that may help you to resolve the dispute quickly. 

If you are unable to resolve the dispute at this stage, the adviser may then refer you to the dispute resolution service.

There is no cost for this service.

Dispute resolution service case management

If your case has been referred to the dispute resolution service, your case manager will contact both parties involved in the dispute to try to clarify the issues in dispute and identify possible ways to resolve the issue. All parties will be encouraged to act in good faith throughout these discussions.

Case managers are independent and neutral. They may provide the parties with general guidance but do NOT provide legal advice. However they may request documents from you to understand the issues, or recommend that a party seeks further specialist advice if necessary. 

There is no cost for this service.


If the parties are unable to resolve their dispute with intensive case management, the case manager may suggest the parties consider accessing our subsidised mediation service.

Mediation offers a more structured negotiation process where parties meet on a face to face basis and an independent mediator assists them to reach an agreement.

Participating in mediation is voluntary; in most cases a mutually agreeable outcome can be achieved with one mediation session.

The cost for mediation is at a reduced rate of $125 per party per session. The service is subsidised by the state government.

Find out more about mediation.

More information

If you would like to access our dispute resolution service please contact us to discuss.