The IHP hearings process
Step 4: Mediation
- Some hearings will have mediation.
- If you are invited to mediation and you want to attend, let the hearing administrator know by the RSVP date on your hearing notification.
- Sign the joint statement at the end of the mediation.
- After the mediation, you can check the the hearings page to see what was agreed at the mediation.
Frequently asked questions
What is mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary, informal and confidential process that brings people together to agree a common approach. The outcomes of mediation can also help the Independent Hearings Panel to understand the issues to be heard.
In the Independent Hearings Panel process, mediation can do three things:
- Bring together people with similar views to see if a common position can be agreed and if a single representative can present these views at the hearing;
- Bring together people with differing views to narrow down the things they disagree on so that less time is needed at the hearing;
- Confirm where people are in agreement on some matters.
Why undertake mediation?
Mediation can streamline the hearing process by:
- Reducing repetition at a hearing;
- Avoiding the need at the hearing to deal with matters that have been agreed;
- Reducing the need for submitters to attend or be represented separately at the hearing;
- Reducing the time involved in attending a hearing.
The Panel makes its recommendations following any hearing - the recommendations do not get made at mediation.
Do I have to attend mediation?
Mediation is voluntary – if you are invited, you do not have to attend.
When will mediation occur?
Mediation can be recommended by the Panel at any time during the hearings process. Mostly mediation will occur before the formal hearing sessions. Mediation may be recommended in the Parties and Issues report (step 2) as the best way to progress a particular issue.
If there is mediation for your hearing topic, we will send you an invitation. This will tell you where and when the mediation will take place.
Who will attend mediation?
Every submitter who wishes to be heard will be invited to attend. This will include submitters and/or their representatives, council officers, experts and the mediator. The council is required to take part in mediation. Panel members do not attend mediation.
Do I need a lawyer, expert witness, or other representative to take part in mediation?
No. However, if you do send someone else to represent you, you will need to make sure that they have full authority to settle or resolve the issues to be discussed during the mediation.
If you or a representative is going to attend mediation, it is important that you let us know beforehand. Please follow the instructions in the invitation.
Mediation will not be open to members of the public (including the media) who are not submitters on the hearing topic. This is so that matters can be talked about openly by the people involved and, if needed, that information can be shared that the parties would only share in confidence.
What can I expect at mediation?
The Panel will appoint a mediator to oversee the mediation. The mediator is independent of the Panel and will treat the parties in an even-handed way. The mediator will ensure the mediation runs efficiently, that everyone has an opportunity to speak, and that the mediation starts and ends on time.
The mediator will report the outcomes of mediation. However, all discussions that take place in mediation are confidential and material will not be included in the report without your consent.
The outcome of mediation will be a joint statement signed by all participants of the mediation. This will include who attended, what they agreed (and why) and things that are still outstanding.
The timeframe for mediation is set by the Panel. Adjournments and extensions are unlikely to be granted.