Improving Access to Justice: New Scheme for Pro Bono Mediation
The Supreme Court, in conjunction with the Queensland Law Society Dispute Resolution Committee and LawRight, has launched a scheme for pro bono mediation of claims involving self-represented litigants. The scheme is designed to improve access to justice for Queenslanders by removing the cost of the process as an obstacle to mediation, providing an opportunity for litigants to resolve their dispute, or narrow the issues in the dispute, without the need for determination by the court. The Chief Justice has issued Practice Direction 17 of 2022 explaining the scheme. In accordance with the Practice Direction, the mediator is appointed by the court and the services of the mediator, and the venue for the mediation, are provided at no cost to the parties. Mediators are appointed from a panel provided by the Queensland Law Society of nationally accredited mediators under the Australian Standards. As part of the process, LawRight will endeavour to obtain an advocate (solicitor or barrister) to act without charge on behalf of the self-represented litigant at the mediation.