Magistrates’ Court expands mediation programme

In 2007, the Magistrates’ Court introduced a pilot programme to refer defended civil cases up to $40,000 for mediation, at no cost to the parties. It began at Broadmeadows, and has since been expanded to a number of other courts. Under a new practice direction, that programme will be extended to Heidelberg from 1 August 2014. The mediatior will be provided by the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria. Section 108 of the Magistrates’ Court Act 1989 (Vic) gives the court the power to refer civil cases for confidential mediation in the hope that they will reach an agreed settlement or at least narrow the issues in dispute.