Mediation operates by interposing an independent person (mediator) between two contending parties in order to aid them in the settlement of a disagreement. Mediation usually aims to promote a better understanding of each party’s understanding of the position and/or interests of the other party and aims to promote compromise and agreement.

Conciliation is similar to mediation but (generally) involves a mediator who has some expertise in the field to which the dispute relates.

In mediation and in conciliation, any resolution of the dispute depends upon agreement between the parties. The mediator or conciliator does not make decisions determining the dispute.

Arbitration differs from mediation or conciliation in that the mediator has some authority to make decisions determining the dispute.

  • FDRPs

FDRP stands for family dispute resolution practitioner.

Section 60I of the Family Law Act provides that, except in specified circumstances (relating to risk of harm, urgency, contravention or where there is consent about an order), the court must not hear an application for a part VII (children) order in relation to a child unless the applicant first files in the court a certificate relating a meeting with an FDRP.

FDRP meetings will generally involve both parties to a family law parenting dispute and are designed to ensure that all persons who have a dispute about parenting matters make a genuine effort to resolve that dispute by family dispute resolution before an application for a part VII order is made to the court.

An FDRP may issue a certificate in circumstances where all relevant parties attended and made a genuine effort to resolve relevant issue(s) and may even issue a certificate where such effort was not made by all parties or even where one party refused or failed to attend.