Things between community members don’t always go smoothly. Often communication breaks down and it is difficult to resolve the issues that have developed. It is always best to try to resolve any disputes between community members by talking to them and seeing if you can reach a mutual agreement. You can write the other party a letter setting out the problem and suggest a possible resolution. If this does not work, an alternate is mediation. The Citizens Advice Bureau offers a low-cost Community Mediation Service where community members in a dispute can come together with accredited mediators to negotiate a fair and workable solution for everyone.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is mediation?
Mediation is an alternative way of resolving a dispute where the parties sit down together and, guided by mediators, negotiate a practical solution by consent to their issues. It gives everyone the opportunity to be heard, define issues, consider options, and settle on a solution that suits them. Mediation is guided by experienced and professionally and nationally accredited mediators. The mediators are impartial and don’t give any advice or make any decisions for the parties; they facilitate a conversation between the parties to assist them to focus on the best way forward.
If mediation ends in agreement, the result is an agreement by consent that is written in the parties own words.
How does mediation work?
Once the parties have agreed to mediation, the mediation coordinator will book a separate pre-mediation interview for each party. This is an opportunity for each party to discuss their issues confidentially. It’s also a good time to ask any questions or raise any issues you’re unsure about. The mediator will explain the mediation process so each party is fully prepared prior to the joint mediation session.
After the pre-mediation interview, the mediators will complete an assessment of suitability for mediation. If mediation proceeds, the mediation coordinator will book a joint mediation appointment for the parties to attend. The Citizens Advice Bureau uses a co-mediation model with two mediators to make sure the process is balanced and unbiased.
How much does community mediation cost?
A pre-mediation appointment costs $75 per party. A community mediation costs $150 per party, per session.
Types of community disputes we can help with:
- Dividing Fences;
- Retaining Walls;
- Encroaching Roots & Branches;
- Disputes in Community Groups;
- Dog and Cat Ownership;
- Harassment; and
- Public Nuisance Disputes.