Dispute Resolution Representation Service


A Dispute Resolution Representation Service is the ongoing legal representation by a Centre of a Service User in a matter that is proceeding by way of alternative dispute resolution processes.

Alternative dispute resolution is a collective term for processes such as mediation, arbitration, and expert determinations that attempt to resolve a dispute outside of formal litigation processes ­ – that is, without requiring commencement of action within a court or tribunal.

Some common legal areas that use alternative dispute resolution are:

  • Family disputes, particularly Family Dispute Resolution, sometimes called Lawyer­-Assisted Family Dispute Resolution
  • Discrimination complaints through state or territory commissions or the Australian Human Rights Commission
  • Employment complaints through Fair Work Commission
  • Neighbourhood dispute mediation either at local courts or elsewhere.

See the Ready Reckoner for more examples.


Dispute Resolution Representation Service v Facilitated Resolution Process

In a Dispute Resolution Representation Service, the Centre’s lawyer is representing / acting for the party to a dispute.

However, in a Facilitated Resolution Process, the Centre’s lawyer is actually mediating the dispute between two parties.


Dispute Resolution Representation Service v Court/Tribunal Representation Service

A Dispute Resolution Representation Service does not include dispute resolution that takes place in the context of a court or tribunal proceeding, as this is incorporated in the definition of a Court /Tribunal Representation Service. For example, if a matter has been listed in a Court or Tribunal, but the Magistrate or Tribunal Member orders parties to attempt to conciliate prior to the hearing date, this conciliation process is to be recorded as part of the Court/Tribunal Representation Service and not as a separate Dispute Resolution Representation Service.


Assistance provided to a self-­represented party involved in an alternative dispute resolution process

Assistance provided by a Centre to a self­-representing party who is preparing to attend an alternative dispute resolution should be recorded as Legal Advice, Legal Task, Duty Lawyer Service, or Ongoing Legal Support Service, as relevant.


How many Services?

A Dispute Resolution Representation Service includes preparation for, representation at, and recording agreement following an alternative dispute resolution process.

All activities provided as part of the Dispute Resolution Representation Service over a period of time are counted together as one Dispute Resolution Representation Service. For example, information, legal advice, and assistance with legal tasks are considered to be part of, and subsumed by, the Dispute Resolution Representation Service, and are not counted separately.

One Dispute Resolution Representation Service can involve multiple problem types that arise in the same matter, although in practice as each alternative dispute resolution forum is focused on a particular legal matter they will generally be sub­categories of a legal problem type such as family law, employment law, neighbourhood dispute, or discrimination. The different problem types are recorded as service characteristics.


Case studies and other examples

Case study – Sunila Family Dispute Resolution

Case study – William vs the bank

Ready Reckoner – When you do more than advice