Adelaide's new Dispute Resolution Centre SA has surprised its founders with the size of the matters resolved and the popularity of its services.
The centre is the first of its kind in South Australia, and according to the centre's co-founder, barrister Noelle Hurley, the number of parties using the centre has been a pleasant surprise.
"We're alive and kicking, and it has been quite interesting seeing the way it has developed," Hurley told Lawyers Weekly.
"We seem to be doing a lot of multi-party mediations, which has surprised us. I suppose it makes sense because multi-party matters are so expensive and [can] turn into such huge things, so every matter we have done so far has had a minimum of four parties."
Hurley and fellow barrister Stephen Walsh QC established the centre, which opened its doors in April this year, to address the absence of any other alternative dispute resolution facilities.
"It is doing really well actually. We're quite chuffed by it, and it is definitely filling a gap," said Hurley.
The centre is located in the heart of Adelaide's court precinct, with four fully-serviced suites with break-out rooms that can accommodate small mediations through to large tribunal hearings.
Parties can bring their own mediator, arbitrator or facilitator, or the centre can help select one.
Hurley believes the centre provides a much needed alternative to South Australia's court system.
"We didn't have a dedicated dispute resolution centre," she said, "and we have found that neutral ground seems to be very popular."