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Information Sheet – Mediation intake process


(PDF version)

What happens after a person is approved to take part in the pilot?

Approved matters are referred to the Family Dispute Resolution Service (FDRS) and allocated to a specialist property pilot team, which includes a mediation organiser, a social worker and a managing FDRP.

The mediation organiser will:

  • send an intake checklist and Financial Statement form to the first party
  • assess suitability when they receive the completed documents
  • send an invite, checklist and Financial Statement form to the second party; and
  • communicate with all parties to organise the mediation.

How will the pilot be different to the usual Legal Aid property mediation?

A key objective of the pilot is to assist families who would not otherwise have an option to resolve their property matter. The pilot targets clients who are vulnerable; including those who have experienced domestic violence, by adopting the following measures:

  • An enhanced intake and assessment process developed in collaboration with the FDRS social worker who has expertise in working with family and domestic violence.
  • Additional support for vulnerable clients, including safety planning and referrals provided by the social worker.
  • A more closely managed disclosure process overseen by a managing FDRP, and utilising an enhanced financial statement.
  • A two stage-mediation model in which the first mediation ensures that the parties have or will obtain sufficient information and that they are ready to negotiate at the second mediation.
  • Legal representation of both parties to maximise the chance of fair and sustainable outcomes. The second party will be eligible for funding and FDRS will assist them to apply for funding and link them with an experienced panel practitioner.
  • A specialist panel of family dispute resolution practitioners with expertise in property law recruited through a competitive process.

What happens if a client also has a children’s matter?

If a client has been granted aid for FDR in their children’s matter, a separate mediation will be organised by FDRS in the usual way. Both matters will be managed by the property pilot mediation organiser so that communication is streamlined.

What if the other party doesn’t agree to take part?

If mediation cannot be arranged because the second party doesn’t respond, disengages or refuses to participate in mediation, the first party may apply for legal aid funding for court proceedings subject to the published eligibility policies for property matters.

What happens if the dispute does not settle at mediation?

The parties may apply for legal aid funding for court proceedings. The mediator will produce a detailed report after the first and second mediation which includes recommendations to assist decision makers in determining further legal aid funding.