Mediation is a useful process to go through before applying for a formal ACC Review.
A mediator can't make a decision about an ACC dispute, but they may be able to help you to resolve a dispute with ACC. If both you and ACC agree to enter into mediation, the aim is the same as for any mediation process - mediation continues until both parties are happy with the outcome. If that can’t be achieved your dispute you can still go to the more formal process of an ACC Review, where a binding decision will be made.
The ACC Review Process
Mediation is a good idea when:
- both sides want to be involved in the mediation and want to resolve their dispute
- both sides want to focus on the present and the future, rather than the past
If you want to start a mediation process, contact DRSL. The mediation will be arranged by a DRSL Resolution Coordinator. They will talk with you about setting a time and place for the mediation to happen.
Preparing for mediation
Mediation works best when everyone is prepared. It can be useful to write down what you want to cover and what you would like to get out of the process. It's a good idea to think of any potential problems and ways to overcome them. You may also want to bring any background or supporting information.
Mediation is a flexible and informal process. There are some basic 'rules', but generally the meeting and how it goes is up to the people involved. It is a confidential process, which means it cannot be referred to in any future review or court proceedings.
Meetings can also be held on marae, and Te Reo translators can be provided.
You are welcome to bring friends and family/whanau. You can also bring a legal representative, but because mediation is an informal process there are no legal implications regarding what is discussed or what the outcome is.
Usually the parties meet together, but the mediator can also meet with people separately to discuss the dispute and explore ideas for settlement. Both sides will be told if there are separate meetings held with one side or the other.
Mediation generally involves two agreements:
- one at the beginning, when everyone signs an 'agreement to mediate' that sets out their rights and responsibilities
- one at the end, if agreement has been reached. Signing the agreement is the end of the mediation process.
There is no set time for how long a mediation will take – it takes as long as necessary to make progress. However most mediation meetings last between two and six hours. Either side can withdraw at any time if they wish.
If an agreement can’t be reached, either side can take further action. If your dispute is about an ACC decision, you can start the more formal process of an ACC Review, where a binding decision will be made about the dispute.
The costs of mediation—and who pays—are agreed by both sides before the process begins.
If it is an ACC dispute, ACC will meet the costs of DRSL being involved; the coordination, providing the mediator and providing a venue. People are generally responsible for meeting their own costs such as travel, unless agreed otherwise.
Who is the mediator?
The mediator will be from DRSL. All DRSL mediators are members of the Arbitrators' and Mediators' Institute of New Zealand, and they have a wide range of experience in mediation and training in alternative dispute resolution. The mediator is there to listen to your views and give independent and unbiased help. Their aim is to get a result that both sides agree to.
Applying for mediation
Anyone involved in a dispute can suggest mediation, but it can only go ahead if all parties agree to it. If you're considering mediation, please get in touch with DRSL. We are happy to give you all the information you need.
The Mediation Process
- Both sides agree to take part in mediation
- A resolution coordinator arranges a meeting at a time that suits everybody
- At the meeting, a mediator will open the meeting, and the roles and responsibilities of everyone there will be discussed and agreed to
- Both sides explain how they see the situation, including any issues, needs and concerns
- Everyone agrees to what the issues are
- Everyone gives their view on how to resolve each issue
- Each option is discussed to see if it will work
- Everyone agrees on a solution that satisfies everyone
- A written agreement is signed
- The mediator ends the meeting