Not-for-profit Law
Legal help for community organisations


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If you can't sort out a disagreement or conflict among the people involved, mediation is a useful way to try to resolve disputes, without resorting to legal action.

Mediation allows for parties to be heard by a mediator who can conciliate the dispute. A mediator can't make a binding determination, but parties can agree to resolve a dispute after mediation.

Arbitration is a less common form of dispute resolution, often used where required by a contract (for example in a joint venture agreement between two large not-for-profit health service providers). In some circumstances arbitrators can make binding decisions.

The Not-for-profit Law fact sheet on mediation covering all states and territories, provides information about the process and why it may assist your organisation to resolve disputes and conflict, and avoid escalation to Court. It includes information regarding:

  • mediation and its benefits
  • the kinds of disputes that can be mediated and how to find and choose a mediator
  • how to prepare for mediation and what happens during mediation, and
  • what to do if mediation doesn’t work

Remember that disputes can be serious situations, and your organisation may need to get advice from a lawyer before making a decision about the best course of action. The information on this page is information only, and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice.

Related links

Mediation services
  • Voluntas - a pilot service aimed to resolve dispute within volunteer involving organisations. The Centre for Volunteering is the first contact point for the pilot service. Volunteers and organisations are asked to contact the Centre if they are aware of, or are directly involved in, a dispute that could benefit from the assistance of an independent mediator.
Other relevant links
Last Updated: 11 November 2020