Ensuring Access to Justice in Mediation within the Civil Justice System
40(2) Monash University Law Review 528 - 563
37 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2016 Last revised: 7 Dec 2017
Date Written: 2014
Australian state and federal Attorneys-General have identified mediation as an important tool in improving access to justice for ordinary citizens. Shifts in government policy have greatly increased the use of mediation as a means of resolving disputes in civil matters in both courts and tribunals. Policy makers, practitioners, courts and tribunals aspire to reflect the values of the ‘access to justice movement’ in the increased use of mediation. This article reports on findings from empirical qualitative research that sought to identify what those in the mediation field think about mediation and justice and how they seek to guard against perpetuating disadvantage in mediation and thus improve access to justice. The insights provided by practitioners, mediation service providers and policy makers, tribunal members and magistrates, about issues relating to mediation and justice are detailed. Whether mediation should be concerned with justice and, if so, whether it should be concerned with procedural or substantive justice or both is explored. The conclusion suggests how the justice quality of mediation could be measured to ensure access to justice is enhanced for the disadvantaged and not diminished.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation