Alternative dispute resolution

Almost all disputes in the Planning and Environment (P and E Court) are resolved, or at least narrowed, by agreement before any final hearing.

The court encourages alternative dispute resolution and provides this service free of charge to parties involved in P and E Court matters. Parties must all request a referral to ADR or be ordered by the court to attend.

The P and E Court’s ADR Registrar can:

  • conduct case management conferences
  • chair ‘without prejudice’ conferences
  • chair meetings of experts.

If the ADR Registrar is not available to assist, or the parties believe the matter is complex and may require a number of consecutive days to resolve; the Planning and Environment Court Act 2016 provides for the engagement of an external mediator to assist the parties. Parties may also engage in private ‘without prejudice’ negotiations without the aid of the ADR Registrar or external mediator.

Parties are usually required to have a dispute resolution plan to help resolve issues before trial. The plans usually include:

  • case management conferences and 'without prejudice' meetings between the parties
  • meeting of expert witnesses (without parties or their representatives)
  • ‘without prejudice’ conferences chaired by the ADR Registrar.

Parties are expected to attend a without prejudice conference chaired by the ADR Registrar in person, unless the ADR Registrar has given permission for a person or party to attend remotely by video or telephone conference. Circumstances when the permission may be granted to attend the conference remotely are available here (PDF, 27.8 KB)

If you are a self-represented party and have not participated in a chaired without prejudice conference before, you can access a guide (PDF, 263.2 KB) which will help you to understand the process.

Find out how to organise a conference or meeting with the ADR Registrar.

View the ADR Registrar’s online calendar to see when they’re available to conduct a conference or meeting.

Note: Other courts use an alternative dispute resolution process that’s different to that used by the P and E Court