1. Part 7B of the Supreme Court Act has been amended to permit the Court at any stage of the proceedings by order to refer parties to mediation where, in the opinion of the Court, mediation appears appropriate.
2. It is not the intention of the Court that mediation will be ordered in all proceedings. In considering whether proceedings are appropriate for mediation the Court may, as set out in paragraph 3(b) below, refer them to a registrar to discuss with the parties the advantages and appropriateness of mediation.
3. By its own motion or on the motion of a party or on referral by a registrar the Court may, after hearing the parties:
a) notwithstanding that the parties, or any of them, do not consent to mediation, make an order pursuant to s110K and appoint a mediator, being a person agreed upon by the parties or, failing that, a person nominated by the Court;
b) refer the proceedings to a registrar who is on the Chief Justice’s list of mediators to meet with the parties to discuss mediation and report back to the Court with, if appropriate, a recommendation as to whether the proceedings are suitable for mediation; or
c) refuse to order mediation.
4. The parties themselves may, at any time, agree to mediation, nominate a mediator and request the Court to make appropriate orders.
5. Parties are required to inform the Court of the outcome of mediation ordered pursuant to s110K of the Supreme Court Act.
Referral to a registrar
6. Where the Court refers proceedings to a registrar the parties will be notified by the registrar of the time and place for an information session. It is anticipated that the information session will take no more than 15 to 30 minutes. Parties as well as their representatives must attend the session.
7. At the conclusion of the information session and if the parties agree to mediation the registrar will make the necessary orders. If the mediator is to be a registrar, directions may be given for the filing and serving of position statements and any documents, reports, valuations etc which will assist the parties and the mediator. A direction will generally require all parties to the mediation to exchange relevant material not less than seven days before the mediation.
8. Where the parties do not agree to mediation or to a mediator, the registrar will report to the Court the outcome of the information session with his or her recommendation.
Proceedings case-managed by registrars
9. A registrar may, at his or her discretion, refer proceedings which, in the opinion of the registrar, are suitable for mediation, to the Court notwithstanding that the parties, or any one of them, do not consent to mediation.
8 February 2001 Chief Justice
This Practice Note is available on the Supreme Court’s website: www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/sc