The Federal Circuit Court of Australia has announced the introduced a new type of alternative dispute resolution called a “Judicial Mediation” which will be available from 1 January 2019.
A Judicial Mediation is a confidential settlement conference in which a Judge acts as the mediator. The Judge in a matter can Order parties to attend a Judicial Mediation, if they think that the matter is suitable, and if one is Ordered then the parties must attend and participate. If the matter does not settle at the Judicial Mediation, then a different Judge will determine the matter at trial, to protect the confidentiality of the mediation.
A Judicial Mediation is not intended to be a substitute for other forms of alternative dispute resolution, and it is expected that all mediation alternatives will have been exhausted before participating in a Judicial Mediation.
Although Judicial Mediations can be utilised for both parenting and financial matters before the Court, not all matters will be suitable. There is also a list of things that need to be done by both parties to prepare for the conference.
If you have a matter currently in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and would like to discuss whether a Judicial Mediation could be an option for you, please contact us and speak with one of our solicitors.