Alternative Dispute Resolution

2015/16 Annual Report

As a Recognised Mediator Accrediting Body under the National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS), the Law Society’s Council can approve applications for accreditation or reaccreditation. The Committee considers such applications and makes recommendations to the Council for that purpose.

A number of applications for accreditation were made during the year. For that purpose, the Committee reviewed and approved the checklist of items for the committee members to consider when receiving applications for accreditation or reaccreditation under the NMAS. Many thanks to Mark Blundell for his sterling efforts in preparing the checklist.

In addition, the Law Society maintains a panel of accredited arbitrators and mediators. It was recommended by the Committee and approved by the Council that the panel should be separated into two lists, one of mediators and the other of arbitrators, should include areas of expertise for each mediator or arbitrator and be subject to a disclaimer.

During the year, the Law Council of Australia considered a paper prepared by Dr Gordon Hughes setting out a proposed Law Council policy position on the Investor State Dispute Settlements clause in Free Trade Agreements and International Investment Treaties. On the basis of a recommendation made by the Convenor, the Law Society’s Council resolved to support the adoption by the Law Council of Australia of a policy position as set out in the paper from Dr Gordon Hughes.

The review of the Construction Contracts Act 2004 was underway during the present year, the Committee was informed by the Convenor that the report had been provided by the Building Commissioner, Mr Peter Gow, to the Minister for consideration, but at present, unfortunately the report is not considered a priority by the State Government. Amongst the matters considered by the report was an amendment to the Act changing “calendar days” to “business days”.

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre approached the Law Society with the proposal to hold a seminar on its organisation to Law Society members. That was approved and was presented by Mr Kevin Nash, the Deputy Registrar, to approximately 30 attendees. The Committee also noted the National Mediation Conference 2016 will take place on 11-15 September 2016 at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast with a theme of Thought, Innovation, Creativity and the Next Decade.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au