Queensland Law Society is calling for more mediators to join a Supreme Court pro-bono program which is helping self-represented litigants access alternative dispute resolution.
One year ago, Chief Justice Helen Bowskill introduced the pilot scheme for pro-bono mediation of proceedings involving self-represented litigants (SRL), via the issue of Practice Direction 17 of 2022.
The direction was prompted by an increasing number of proceedings involving SRLs and the burden of pre-trial mediation costs for those SRL when such mediation could have resolved their claims.
Since its introduction, the scheme has enjoyed considerable success. Six proceedings have been referred for pro-bono mediation.
Of these, three mediations have been held and agreement has been reached in all three matters, at or following the mediation, resolving at least part of the dispute between the parties. Arrangements for pro-bono mediation are under way in the remaining three proceedings.
LawRight has been successful in securing pro-bono representation for all self-represented parties for the purpose of the mediations.
The scheme’s success has depended in large part on the generosity of the pro-bono mediators and advocates. They have given freely of their time, energy, and expertise in enhancing access to justice for self-represented litigants. These parties might otherwise be denied the opportunity to explore resolution of their disputes via the mediation process.
More mediators are needed in order to maintain the viability of the scheme. If you are a nationally accredited mediator interested in contributing to the scheme, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.
If you are already a member of the panel, please do not hesitate to nominate for a mediation.
Subject matter expertise is not required, and less experienced mediators have the opportunity to co-mediate with more experienced colleagues. A pro-bono mediation is a valuable opportunity to gain in experience and hone your skills, in the knowledge that you are making an important contribution to access to justice for Queenslanders.
From the Queensland Law Society Dispute Resolution Committee