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Arbitration process for conduct and compensation agreements

Arbitration is a process where parties to a dispute choose an independent third party (known as an arbitrator) to resolve the dispute.

It is one of the options available under the statutory negotiation process for conduct and compensation agreements.

This information outlines the arbitration process. You can find more details in the guide to land access in Queensland (PDF, 1.8MB) or the Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Act 2014.

Key points to remember

  • Arbitration is a voluntary process – both parties need to agree to it.
  • The arbitrator needs to be independent of both parties.
  • Decisions are legally binding.
  • You can be legally represented in arbitration – we suggest you seek legal assistance before entering arbitration.

Reasons for choosing arbitration

Depending on your circumstances, arbitration can offer a number of benefits:

  • The process is flexible and can be tailored to suit the needs of participants.
  • Costs can be lower than court proceedings (see below).
  • Outcomes can generally be achieved faster than for court proceedings.
  • Decisions are legally binding and final, providing certainty for all participants.
  • Decisions are confidential, unless the parties agree otherwise.

Alternatives to arbitration

If you don't agree to arbitration, the matter may be referred to the Land Court for determination. In some circumstances, non-binding alternative dispute resolution under the statutory negotiation process may then be used.

Read the guide to land access in Queensland (PDF, 1.8MB) for details.

Costs of arbitration

Costs of arbitration vary according to the:

  • complexity of the matter
  • willingness of parties to have the matter settled
  • legal representation and advice that is needed.

Overall costs are generally lower than for court proceedings, as they can be contained by negotiating such things as:

  • time frames for submissions
  • size of submissions
  • which aspects of the matter will be included or excluded
  • how many meetings are to be held
  • whether meetings will be in person or online.

Who pays the costs?

Arbitrator's costs

If you participated in an alternative dispute resolution process (ADR) as part of the statutory negotiation process, then the arbitrator's fees and expenses are shared equally between the parties unless:

  • the parties agree otherwise
  • the arbitrator decides otherwise.

If you didn't participate in an ADR process, then the resource company pays for the arbitrator.

Other costs

Each party is responsible for their own costs (including the cost of legal representation) unless:

  • the parties agree otherwise
  • the arbitrator decides otherwise.

Steps in the arbitration process

Arbitration election notice

To start an arbitration process, the landholder or resource authority holder provides an arbitration election notice to the other party. The election notice must state:

  • details of the matters in dispute
  • name of the proposed arbitrator (who is independent of both parties)
  • the following conditions
    • if a party accepts the request for arbitration, neither party can make an application to the Land Court for a determination of the dispute
    • the parties are liable to pay the costs of the arbitration as prescribed in section 91E of the Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Act 2014
    • the party receiving the arbitration election notice is not required to agree to enter into arbitration
    • parties are able to be legally represented in an arbitration.

Both parties have to agree to attend arbitration before the process can proceed.

Choosing an arbitrator

There are number of organisations that can help you find an accredited arbitrator, including the Queensland Law Society or the Resolution Institute.

Appointment of arbitrator

If the other party agrees to the proposed arbitrator, the parties can appoint the arbitrator within 10 business days.

If the parties don't agree to the proposed arbitrator, the party who gave the arbitration election notice must ask either the Queensland Law Society or the Resolution Institute to appoint one.

Arbitrator's decision

Once appointed, the arbitrator has 6 months to issue their decision.

The decision is final and has the same effect as a binding and enforceable agreement. The decision cannot be appealed except in rare and exceptional circumstances (e.g. serious unfairness in the arbitration process).

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