Canberra sure is one idyllic city. And life, for many Canberrans is equally as serene. But, from time to time, things do not go as planned. Whether it is a workplace disagreement, an issue with a neighbour, or a family dispute, living with unresolved conflict sure does take its toll.
Indeed, such conflicts are some of the most stressful that we will encounter in our lifetimes. And, as the days turn into weeks, we can feel our cortisol levels rise from the sheer burden of stress that comes hand in hand with a dispute.
It becomes even more challenging when parties can not come to a mutual agreement. With the risk of litigation looming, engaging a professional mediator can help. Mediation is a highly specialised and unique field, anchored in the art of solving a problem. Also known as conflict resolution, mediation aims to engage disputing parties and seek an amicable solution.
A mediator is a neutral representative of all parties, who’s role is to help each tell their side of the story. In doing so, the mediator acts as the objective third party, structuring the discussion and facilitating clear communication. Through these meetings the mediator helps parties understand the problem, define issues of importance, and find areas of common ground. Importantly, a mediator navigates parties towards an agreement, keeping the dispute out of court.
Mediation also plays in important role in reducing the cost of conflict. Early intervention in the case of divorce for example, can help reduce the financial impact that comes with separation. It is often quicker and less costly than taking the issue to court or tribunal. Moreover, it offers a greater degree of ownership in determining the outcome, and more flexibility for parties in general.
That said, quite a lot often rests on effective mediation. To ensure your chance of reaching an acceptable settlement only the best mediation and conflict resolution teams should be considered. Fortunately, we’ve rounded up the best mediators in Canberra so read on below to find out more.
What makes a great mediation and conflict resolution service?
The best mediation and conflict resolution services are a credible bunch. They maintain objectivity, are highly adaptable, and persevere to the very end. The cream of the crop will be known for settling resolutions that best fit the needs of all parties, removing the need for litigation. Here are some cues to help you evaluate your next mediator service:
- Qualified & accredited. While there are no mandatory qualifications to practice as a mediator, all good mediators are accredited under the National Mediator Accreditation System. This national accreditation scheme ensures minimum standards of education and training for mediators. Moreover, many also possess qualifications in relevant fields of law, such as industrial, commercial, or family law.
- Specialised expertise. While no two disputes are ever the same, there are specific areas of specialisation that are worth considering. Some disputes involve businesses, some are linked to employment affairs, and others are family matters. As such, finding a mediation and conflict resolution service that specialises in your area of need is incredibly important. It will ensure that they have the depth of knowledge to understand the ins and outs of the law. And importantly, the breadth of experience to remain impartial.
- Reputable. While being hard to earn, a good reputation certainly goes the distance. Reputable mediation services are known for being leaders in their field, and the best often come recommended. As such, seek out conflict resolution services with high settlement rates. Speak to colleagues, friends and family, lawyers, even do some research and you will soon find a list of the most reputable teams in the region.
- Exemplary communicators. In times of great emotional and psychological stress, clear and concise communication goes a long way. Needless to say; the best mediators have interpersonal communication skills down to fine art. They are present, listen attentively, clarify, and re-clarify, and take the glass half-full approach. The best mediators have a knack for understanding differing perspectives and bridging common ground.
- Tenacious. In an ideal situation, all parties put their best offer on the table the first time around everything thereafter flows seamlessly. The reality however is often quite different! The most successful mediators are tenacious. They deploy everything within their power to keep the ball rolling all the way through to a signature on a dotted line. This means they have the skills to keep negotiations going despite any – and all – obstacles to settlement.
The best mediation and conflict resolutions services in Canberra
RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.
To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.
Owner and principal Liz Keogh is a highly regarded family lawyer with a twenty year plus history in the family law system.
With mediation is her professional focus since 2016, Liz utilises her understanding of the legal and emotional complexities of decision making for separated families.
This focus on family dispute resolution assists parties with mediation services regarding the care of children, financial matters, and division assets in the event of separation. Her ethos is embedded in her practice, which seeks to draw out an understanding for other’s perspectives as the cornerstone for effective resolution.
Alana Jacobs had this to say about Keogh Mediation on Google, “I have only had great experiences working with Liz as a mediator. She is personable yet professional and always gets results. I highly recommend her services.”
Centrally located in Canberra City, Australian Family Lawyers specialise in the area of family law. Lead by the firms Head of Family Law, Courtney Mullen, their team of seasoned and skilled lawyers provide counselling and resolution on all family matters.
They pride themselves on cutting through legal jargon delivering clear advice and the best possible care throughout your family mediation matter. Australian Family Lawyers offer free consultations and some fixed fees, allowing you to stress less about costs and the law, and focus on the journey in front of you and your family.
Kristy Lee Tyrrell shared her experience with the team on Google, “Clear advice with the best interests of the child always front and centre. Helping parents see clearly when we are at our most stressed.”
Legal Aid ACT helps Canberrans with legal issues, particularly those who are socially or economically disadvantaged. It offers lawyer-assisted family dispute resolution (mediation) for separating couples and families.
Its team can help you get the right legal advice, identify issues concerning your children and finances, reach child-focused agreements, and draft parenting plans and legally binding consent orders. Legal Aid ACT’s office is in Civic.
David Henshall shared this review on Google, “I sought advice there yesterday about a neighbourhood dispute issue. The free consultation was extremely helpful in clarifying my thoughts and working out potential next steps, both legally and ethically. Many thanks. A wonderful community service.”
Specialising exclusively in family law, Farrar Gesini and Dunn have been operating in Australia for over twenty years. With offices in Sydney, Melbourne, and right here at home in Canberra, the firm offers comprehensive mediation services to families.
Mediators Robert Routh and Juliette Ford are highly experienced family law professionals working in the field for over two decades. Together, they work with parties to facilitate effective and constructive communication along with options for resolution and settlement.
Wildlife Whisperer had this to say on Google, “I went to Farrar Gesini Dunn with a family law matter. They responded quickly, professionally, gave me tailored advice for my situation and budget, and undertook work as agreed. I would highly recommend them.”
Not-for-profit organisation Conflict Resolution Service (CRS) has supported the ACT region in dispute resolution for over 30 years.
CRS provides conflict resolution through mediation services across all three main areas of people’s lives: family, work and community. It is also an accredited mediator body and training provider, offering training programs in mediation and conflict resolution.
CRS also won the Excellence in Implementation of Evidence Informed Practice Award at the 2019 Yogie Awards, which recognise outstanding practice in working with young people in the Canberra region.
If you’re looking for more information on legal services in Canberra, you might like our article on the best wills and estate lawyers, the best probate services, the best divorce lawyers, the best personal injury lawyers, the best employment lawyers, best criminal lawyers or perhaps this article on the best law firms Canberra has to offer.
Your experience with mediation and conflict resolution services in Canberra
Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Have you had experience with any of the mediation and conflict resolution services listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.