A STRATEGY paper recommending changes to help courts and tribunals improve their use of dispute resolution has been welcomed by federal Attorney General Philip Ruddock.
The joint paper by the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration (AIJA) and the National Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisory Council (NADRAC) was launched in Melbourne.
The paper analyses existing research, and examines criteria or factors on which courts and tribunals could base decisions to refer a dispute to alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The paper was authored by Associate Professor Kathy Mack of Flinders University Law School.
Ruddock said the paper identified the need to settle disputes as fairly, quickly and cheaply as possible, and to assist self-represented litigants. It also would prevent unmeritorious or misguided litigation from congesting the courts. “An effective justice system requires disputes to be dealt with by the best available method,” said Ruddock.
“In some cases this requires a hearing by a court or tribunal, but many cases are more effectively handled by alternative processes such as mediation, neutral evaluation and conciliation,” he said.