Is this legal?

  • Yes. OutOfCourt is a referral service for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services. ADR is recommended and supported by the Courts.
  • Under various Commercial Arbitration Acts parties are permitted to appoint an independent person to make a decision regarding a dispute.

Is it binding?

  • Binding decisions made in Arbitration are binding on the parties.  It is possible for a party to go to Court to challenge a decision made in Arbitration but it is rarely successful and the party must show very good reason why the decision should not stand (such as if they are under a mental incapacity). A decision will not be overturned simply because one party is upset with the outcome.
  • Mediation is not binding. However if a party enteres into a settlement agreement through mediation the agreement is binding.

Can I force the other person to use OutOfCourt?

  • No. You cannot force a party to Arbitrate or Mediate unless the Court has ordered that to occur.
  • However, under the Civil Dispute Resolution Act it is mandatory for parties to attempt to settle a matter before proceeding to the Federal Court. Accordingly if the other party refuses to Arbitrate or Mediate you can bring that to the attention of the Court and argue that you should be awarded additional fees as the matter could have been resolved without Court intervention.

What matters are suitable for ADR?

  • Most cases are suitable for ADR. 
  • OutOfCourt is particularly suited for matters, where:
    • the value of the matter does not make going to Court or hiring lawyers economically viable
    • a decision needs to be made quickly
    • parties have started a proceeding in Court but now cannot afford to continue or require a faster outcome
    • the matter is simple and does not warrant the need for Lawyers, Barristers or a Judge
    • the parties want to argue the case themselves without legal representation.
  • If a case is already filed, if all parties agree, a "stay" can be ordered by the Court to allow the parties time to settle the matter without the Court.
  • Where an order is requiredt to be given by the Court (such as in the case of a Divorce order), the parties can approach the Court for the desired Order.

Do I need to appoint a Lawyer?

  • A party can appoint a lawyer if they wish to do so.
  • In complex cases it is not unusal for each party to ADR to appoint a lawyer. However, this may have an effect on costs and if you are successful you may not be reimbursed for legal fees.
  • You should obtain independent legal advice in respect of the merits of your case or defence. OutOfCourt is a neutral dispute resolution referral provider. Our role is limited to the administration of the dispute resolution. We are not able to comment on the merits of cases or defences or decisions made by Panelists, which act independently.

Are there legal consequences of making allegations?

  • Yes, there can be serious consequences to making allegations against another person. For example (and without limitation), under Intellectual Property laws an agrieved party can take action against you for making groundless or unjustified threats.  
  • You should obtain independent legal advice before making allegations against other parties. 

Who pays the fees?

  • All parties to the dispute each pay OutOfCourt a fee of $500 plus GST.
  • The cost of the Arbitration or Mediation (ADR Fee) is paid directly to the Panelist and is a matter between you, the other parties and the Panelist.
  • In Arbitration or Mediation it is not uncommon to see either of the following:
    • the winner of the dispute pays no ADR Fees
    • the parties split fee fees in some manner so they jointly share the risk

Can I pay the fees of the other party?

  • Yes. If you both agree to use OutOfCourt to resolve the matter one party may agree to pay the entire fees.

Who decides on the Panelist?

  • All the parties to a dispute are asked for their preferred Panelist. If that Panelist is suited to the dispute type and available, OutOfCourt will refer the matter to that Panelist.
  • If the parties do not agree on a Panelist, OutOfCourt will decide the Panelist.

What if more than 1 Panelist is required?

  • If the matter is so complex that it is necessary to apoint more than one Panelist, please contact OutOfCourt to let us know.
  • If one party wants more than one Panelist and the other parties do not agree, then it is usual for the party wanting the additional Panelists to incur the full cost of the other Panelists.
  • It is necessary to have an odd number of Panelists to "break the tie" in a decision.