Resolving disputes    


The Land and Environment Court provides people many ways to resolve disputes. An adjudicated hearing before a judge or commissioner may not suit all sorts of problems. That is why the Court promotes appropriate dispute resolution. This involves matching the appropriate dispute resolution method with the particular dispute.

Click on the doors to find out more about the methods of dispute resolution  

Which method of dispute resolution?    

When deciding which method of dispute resolution is appropriate to the matter, the Court may take into account:

  • the type of case (and whether any dispute resolution methods are compulsory for that type of case)

  • the preference of the parties, the nature of the parties and whether or not the people involved have representation

  • the potential cost of the case

  • the time it might take to reach finalisation.

The Court may also consider:

  • the complexity of the matter

  • which method of resolution constitutes an appropriate and efficient use of the Court's time

  • the public interest in the outcome of the matter.

The Court offers the following dispute resolution methods.


Adjudication involves the hearing and determination of proceedings by a judge or commissioner of the Court. The hearing may be a court hearing or, for certain types of matters in Classes 1 and 2 of the Court’s jurisdiction, an on-site hearing.

Read more about adjudication.



Conciliation in the Court is undertaken by a commissioner or registrar of the Court, pursuant to s 34 or s 34AA of the Land and Environment Court Act 1979.  These sections provide for a combined or hybrid process involving, first, conciliation and then, if the parties do not agree to resolve the dispute at the conciliation, adjudication. The procedures for conducting a conciliation conference are set out in the Conciliation Conference Policy.

Read more about conciliation.



Mediation in the Court is undertaken under s 26 of the Civil Procedure Act 2005 by a commissioner or registrar of the Court who is a trained mediator or by a mediator external to the Court.

Read more about mediation.


Neutral evaluation

Neutral evaluation in the Court is undertaken, pursuant to Pt 6 r 6.2 of the Land and Environment Court Rules 2007 by a commissioner of the Court or by a person external to the Court.

Read more about neutral evaluation.


Reference to referee

The Court may refer proceedings, or any question arising in the proceedings, to a person for inquiry and report to the Court, under Pt 20 r 20.14 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005 or s 35(1) of the Land and Environment Court Act 1979.

Read more about reference to a referee.


Snapshot: resolving disputes in the court                

During the process of a court matter, the people in dispute may use a combination of the Court's dispute resolution methods, as the diagram below illustrates. JIGSAW CLICK3.JPG

Fast facts

Most disputes are resolved without the necessity for a court hearing. In 2011, 59% of matters were resolved by alternative dispute resolution processes and negotiated settlement, without the need for a court hearing.

In 2011, there were 637 conciliation conferences in Class 1,2 and 3 matters.

In 2011, 32% of Class 1 matters were finalised by conciliation.

In 2011, there were 16 mediations in Class 1,2,3 and 4 matters, 50% of which were Class 4 matters.

Of the mediations:

  • 75% were conducted by a court mediator
  • 25% were conducted by an external mediator
  • 88% resolved without a hearing.

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