Settling disputes before they get to court can save people time, legal fees and court costs. There’s a number of ways this can occur in Queensland, one of them being through the services of the Dispute Resolution Branch (DRB).
The DRB is a division of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General. The Branch offers mediation and dispute resolution services and an extensive range of training. Whether you’re a lawyer (or lawyer-to-be), a CEO, public servant, a call centre supervisor or even the coach of a local sporting team, you will find that dispute resolution and mediation skills can be applied in so many situations. You can learn more about the types of training offered at www.qld.gov.au/learnmediation.
Megan Hogan is a Masters student at QUT. She holds a Bachelor of laws and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. Although Megan’s experience so far has mainly been in criminal law, she also has an interest in mediation and hopes to use and combine her law and mediation skills in the future. Megan spent a day at the DRB with South Queensland Dispute Resolution Centre Coordinator, Jessica Zivec.
I enjoy having the opportunity to increase my knowledge and skill set. I want to continue to use my skills which I have obtained from my experience in the Attorney General’s Department and with my Justice Journey at the Dispute Resolution Centre.
I experienced what a typical day looks like for someone who works in the Dispute Resolution Centre. The Dispute Resolution Branch has been operating for 25 years and manages conflict in the community without police or the courts. I had an incredible and dynamic journey which involved me observing the day-to-day processes of the branch.
My activities included listening to clients who had called to discuss matters ranging in nature from tree disputes, dividing fences to property settlements. I observed a mediator in action and the steps it took to prepare a client for mediation. I also learnt about the framework in which the Dispute Resolution Centre operates. I learnt you can use mediation instead of the court system to offer parties in a dispute the opportunity to come to a resolution without escalation to a formal court process.