Mediation is a structured negotiation process where the parties in a dispute voluntarily meet to discuss their dispute with the help of an independent and accredited mediator. During mediation parties are encouraged to identify and explore options to resolve their dispute. The mediator cannot make a decision regarding the outcome and supports the parties to reach their own agreement.
Who can access mediation?
The Small Business Commissioner oversees the mediation service in Western Australia. This service aims to resolve business to business, commercial farm debt, retail shop lease, and business to government disputes involving at least one small business. The dispute must involve a property or business located (or service delivered) within Western Australia.
How long is each session?
Each session usually runs for four to six hours however, we generally request that parties set aside a full day for mediation, in case their matter takes longer to resolve.
In most cases, one session is sufficient to reach an agreement, but more can be arranged if required.
The cost of mediation is $125 per party per session. This is subsidised, with the majority of the cost being covered by the State Government.
If a mediation session is cancelled within 48 hours of the appointed time, a cancellation fee of $1000 (the full cost of mediation) will apply to the party that cancelled and their $125 mediation fee will not be refunded.
The benefits of mediation include:
- the issues in dispute can be clarified
- the parties in dispute are in control of the outcome and negotiate their own agreement with the assistance of a mediator
- it is flexible and parties can tailor solutions in consideration of their needs and interests
- it is inexpensive and efficient compared with taking the matter to court
- the approach is informal but structured
- it improves the likelihood of the business relationship continuing between the parties after the dispute is over
- discussions are confidential and cannot be used by the parties in any legal proceedings
- an agreement from mediation is legally binding and can be enforced
Location of mediation sessions
In the Perth metropolitan area, mediations are generally held at our premises at Level 2, 140 William Street, Perth.
In regional areas, mediations can be arranged in a location that suits both parties.
Applying for mediation
Your SBDC case manager will advise if mediation is the next step to take. If it is, you will be provided with an application form and mediation reference number. Your case manager will assist you with preparations for the mediation.