The majority of Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) cases are resolved through mediation. We generally find that if the parties have devised their own solution to the dispute, it is more likely to stick.
How it works
Once a registrant has responded to a complaint, and the complainant has had the opportunity to reply, the case enters a period of informal mediation that may last up to 10 working days.
This begins with an appointed mediator contacting each side and communicating with them through a series of telephone calls in order to help them to generate settlement options. The process is confidential. Anything a party says to the mediator remains confidential unless one party gives express permission for their comments to be put to the other party.
When mediation is over, the mediator’s notes and any correspondence generated during the ten days are removed from the file. This is also true if the case does not settle and a party requests an expert decision. Such rigorous confidentiality allows the parties to speak freely, for example, about the strengths and weaknesses in their case or the testing of settlement options, without fear that it could be used against them in any way in the future.
You are not bound to settle your case through mediation and can choose not to take part if you wish. However, mediation will enable the parties to discuss several settlement proposals. None of these are binding until the settlement paperwork has been signed by all parties.
If the mediation is unsuccessful, or one of the parties does not wish to take part, the complaint will proceed to the decision stage, where the complainant will be given the option of paying for an expert to examine the complaint.