With arbitration becoming more like litigation, more reinsurers in Australia are turning to clauses in their contracts with insurers that require disputes to be resolved through mediation or expert determination. The trend is toward including both mediation and arbitration clauses in reinsurance contracts, with arbitration occurring only if mediation fails fully to resolve a dispute. Australian courts are encouraging parties to use mediation, which influences the way contracts are drafted. However, parties need to understand the benefits and limitations of mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution before incorporating the provisions in contracts. Reinsurers may be more comfortable incorporating mediation clauses in contracts with sophisticated insurers and relying on arbitration provisions with those less sophisticated.
Mondaq (October 31, 2006)
The Australian government has selected a firm to provide mediation services throughout the country to assist the Produce and Grocery Industry Ombudsman. The Produce and Grocery Industry receives subsidized dispute resolution services under its Code. The mediation firm’s contract is overseen by the Department of Industry, Tourism and Industry, which is instituting a nationwide public awareness campaign of the Ombudsman and the Code.
Industry, Tourism and Resources, Australia (August 31, 2006)
Participants from India, Australia, Malaysia, Japan, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines attended the Asia Pacific Conference on Contemporary Trends in Mediation and Arbitration in Kuala Lumpur in mid-July. The keynote address by Malaysian Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz stated that his country is considering mediation legislation which would cover both voluntary and court-directed mediation in order to reduce court backlogs. The Chief Justice emphasized that courts around the world struggle to keep up with expanding caseloads and noted the successful use of mediation in Singapore, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. The conference was organized by the International Islamic University Malaysia and an arbitration center.
Bernama General News (July 18, 2006) (Subscription Required)
An intense three-day mediation resulted in the return to Huon Corporation of business assets by the company’s managing director, Charles Shultz. Mr. Shultz had transferred the assets to private trusts while putting Huon Corporation in receivership last month. The return of the assets will enable the company to satisfy obligations to employees of its three businesses and potentially to sell the businesses as going concerns. The successful court-ordered mediation avoided a costly pending action in the Australian Supreme Court.
The Advertiser (August 3, 2006); The Advertiser (Bendigo) (August 2, 2006)
The classroom isn’t the only place in the school community where tension can mount. Whether it’s in the grounds, the staff room, the board room or even at home, the staff, pupils and management provide a fertile environment for dysfunction to manifest and simmer away in.
Australian mediators and alternative dispute resolution centres are taking a leading role in encouraging the use of dispute resolution techniques in the Asia-Pacific region.
To take a case in point, the Dispute Resolution Centre at Bond University, initially at the invitation of the Australian Government and more recently as a result of its own efforts, has been actively promoting the adaptation of mediation techniques for use in Indonesia.