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.
During the process of a court matter, the people in dispute may use a combination of the Court's dispute resolution methods.
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.
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. (PDF , 42.1 KB)
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.
Snapshot diagram of how dispute resolution methods can fit into the court process
Most disputes are resolved without
the necessity for a court hearing.
The total number of mediations in
the Land and Environment Court
of New South Wales increased significantly between 2018 and 2019
(an increase of 65%).
In 2019, Class 4 (Judicial review
and civil enforcement) mediations
doubled from 2018.
In 2020, the Land and Environment Court was a winner in the ‘ADR Innovation of the Year’ category at the Australian Disputes Centre Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Awards.