Media Release – Victorian Bar and County Court reach agreement to assist parties efficiently access mediation services for commercial disputes


The new agreement allows for fast-track appointment of mediators in commercial matters with clear protocols

The Victorian Bar is delighted that it has agreed protocols with the Commercial Division of the County Court of Victoria for the Court to refer matters to Bar mediators under an agreed Protocol. The Protocol will assist parties and their lawyers find appropriate, nationally accredited barrister mediators, to help resolve their disputes out of court, and assist the Court in managing increasingly heavy caseloads.

The Protocol has been developed to provide a mechanism for the Court to request that the President of the Victorian Bar nominate nationally accredited mediators from the Victorian Bar for urgent matters or in the event that the parties cannot agree on a mediator. The Protocol applies to the County Court’s Commercial Division proceedings. It will help ensure that resolution of disputes can continue to be found through nationally accredited mediators with specific experience in online and in-person mediation.

The head of the Commercial Division of the County Court of Victoria, His Honour Edward Woodward, said, “I am very pleased that the Victorian Bar has been able to assist the Court in developing these protocols, which will help litigants achieve timely resolution of their commercial disputes.”

CEO of the Victorian Bar, Katherine Lorenz, said, “I’m delighted that Tony Elder and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee have been able to assist the County Court in developing this scheme to provide an expeditious avenue to resolve commercial disputes. We look forward to the Victorian Bar’s mediators bringing their skills to the mediation table to help clients resolve their disputes in an efficient manner.“

This agreement follows the Expedited Mediation Scheme’s launch in June this year, when the Victorian Bar agreed protocols with the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia for appropriate matters to be referred to mediation under the Scheme. The original announcement is here.

More information about the Protocol for County Court mediations can be found on the Victorian Bar website here.

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