Mediation is a cost effective way to open discussions between the parties in an effort to reach an agreement of facts or settlement without incurring significant costs during the litigation process. These discussions are supervised by an unbiased and independent mediator to encourage effective and efficient communication.
A new Magistrates Court Practice Direction, issued 14 July 2014, contains a number of new developments.
The Practice Direction in full is here.
Importantly, the changes include:
- The parties must file all discovered documents with Court 7 days before the mediation, unless it would be considered unduly onerous to do so;
- A court mediation is no longer free of charge;
a) The costs of mediation are calculated at 2% of the amount claimed. This effectively caps the costs at $2,000 (or $500 if the claim is in the minor civil jurisdiction);
b) Costs must be paid to the court 14 days before the date of the mediation.
3) At the conclusion of the mediation, the notes of the parties and/or their legal representatives must be provided to the mediator, who will destroy them. Nothing discussed or disclosed throughout the mediation can be used as evidence during trial.