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Mediation through the Office of the Queensland Small Business Commissioner

You can access dispute resolution assistance through mediation for eligible lease disputes from the Queensland Small Business Commissioner (QSBC).

For dispute resolution or mediation of other types of disputes, use our dispute resolution referral tool to understand which service you should contact to help you with your dispute.

Notifying QSBC of an eligible lease dispute

If you are interested in dispute resolution assistance from the QSBC you will first need to complete an eligible lease dispute notice. Before you submit this notice you must first try to resolve the dispute directly with the other party.

Costs for mediation of eligible lease disputes through QSBC

QSBC pays the fees and costs for the professional and independent mediator. Landlords and tenants of an eligible lease dispute must pay the party’s own costs for the mediation conference, including costs of travel and accommodation for attending the mediation.

What to expect in mediation

Mediation is a structured negotiation process in which an independent party, a mediator, assists parties in dispute. The mediator’s role is not to decide the dispute but to assist the landlord and tenant to come to an agreement to resolve the issue.

To give mediation the best chance of success, you should be well prepared as it may be the last opportunity for you to try and resolve your matter before having to go litigation.

Ensure you log in to the teleconference/videoconference at least 5 minutes before the mediation start time.

The mediation process will generally begin by the mediator introducing themselves and providing you with an outline of the process and everyone’s roles in the process, this may include setting ground rules around how parties are to behave and treat one another throughout the mediation and ensuring interruptions are minimised.

The average length of mediation can be anywhere between 1 hour and 4 hours, however, some mediations may take half or a full day (depending on the complexity of the matter).

Matters discussed at mediation are treated confidentially. Penalties apply for disclosing personal and confidential information or using that information other than for negotiating or resolving an eligible lease dispute.

Preparing for mediation

To prepare for mediation, you should bring anything which you think may assist you in communicating your concerns or perspective to the other person. This could include any correspondence regarding the dispute and any information shared as part of an affected lease negotiation.

You may also wish to prepare a brief written statement which you can read from when asked by the mediator to outline the reason/s which brought you to mediation. When preparing a written statement, it is important not get to caught up in the minor issues but instead briefly:

  • outline how the matter has come about
  • what some possible solutions may be for resolving the matter
  • refer to any documents, incidents or calculations that support your claim
  • outline what you hope to achieve by coming to mediation.

To help you prepare for mediation please see the mediation checklist below.

Attendees at mediation

You may wish to have a support person to either attend mediation with you, or to be on the phone during the process. If you intend to bring along a person for support, you must request permission for the person to attend and provide the name and role of the person to the mediator prior to mediation.

You may choose to be represented by a lawyer only with the approval of the mediator. The mediator may allow a person to attend and participate in the mediation conference if they are satisfied the person has an interest in the resolution of the eligible lease dispute.

Attendance at mediation

Attendance at mediation is compulsory if you have been issued a notice of mediation. If a party fails to attend a mediation, a court or tribunal may award costs against the party in a proceeding relating to the eligible lease dispute. Unless you have a reasonable excuse, a certificate is issued stating non-attendance to the parties and the Commissioner.

Mediation checklist

  • Prepare a written statement to use at mediation which briefly outlines:
    • the precise nature of your dispute
    • possible ways to resolve your matter
    • documents, incidents or calculations that your support your claim (i.e. relevant clauses to the lease you wish to rely upon)
    • what you hope to achieve from the mediation.
  • Be prepared to listen respectfully to the other parties’ perspective and allow for a meaningful negotiation.
  • Collect any additional supporting documentation that may be referred to in the mediation conference, including:
    • a copy of the lease
    • documents
    • letters
    • notices
    • accounts.
  • If the claim is for compensation, ensure the claim can be quantified and supported by your calculation or those of your accountant.
  • Provide contact details of your representative (if applicable) to QSBC prior to your mediation.
  • Allow enough time (remembering mediation may take up to 4 hours).

Reaching agreement at mediation

If you reach an agreement, the mediator will record the terms of the agreement in writing for each party to sign. A copy of the signed agreement will be provided to each party.

If you’re unable to reach an agreement, the mediator will issue a notice about the outcome of the mediation. Either party may apply to QCAT or a court for further assistance.

Additional things to consider prior to mediation

  • What would you like to achieve at the mediation?
  • If you could get the other side to agree to whatever you wanted, what would that be?
  • What’s your ‘bottom line’ — what is the limit of what you can really afford to accept?
  • Have you thought about different ways you may be able to resolve the dispute and are you ready to discuss these with the other party?
  • Can you compromise about accepting or paying an amount of money?
  • Think about what the other party would like to achieve — what is your position in relation to that possible outcome?
  • Would you be able to reach a compromise no matter how convinced you are about the strength of your case, or be prepared to accept it may have potential weaknesses?
  • What are the consequences for you not reaching an agreement at mediation?

Interpreter assistance or reasonable adjustment

If you require the assistance of an interpreter or reasonable adjustment at a mediation, please notify the QSBC prior to mediation taking place.