Mediation Institute Member Groups

We are expanding the functionality of the Mediation Institute Members course area by setting up a number of groups that you can join.

What are groups?

Groups are an opportunity for members to collaborate and share around specific focus areas.  Watch this short video from Joanne Law to find out more about the groups and how to move from group to group.

What groups are available?

We have set up three groups at the time of writing this but are open to suggestions from members for more. Current Groups are:

Mediation Supervisors – this is a closed group which means it is by invitation only for those members who are interested in being part of our Paid Supervision Directory to make accessing professional supervision easier for mediators.

Practice Area Groups – this is an open group which means that you can join and move between the sub-groups as often as you want. Current sub-groups are:

  • Australian Mediation Awareness Week Supporter Group for those who are interested in either running an event or supporting others to run an event for the Australian Mediation Awareness Week in October 2018
  • Child Inclusive Practice Group which is intended for those FDR Practitioners who have completed further studies in Child Inclusive Practice.
  • Elder Mediation Group which is intended for those who are providing Elder Mediation Services or interested in this area of practice
  • FDR Practitioner Group which is intended for those who are accredited FDR Practitioners
  • Workplace Mediation Group which is intended for those who are interested in Workplace Mediation

We are more than happy to facilitate more sub-groups going as granular as you would like.  Other thoughts might be for those who are interested in Restorative Justice or Transformative Mediation for example.

– State Based Groups – We have set up a state based group for every state or territory and one for ex-Pats. Those of you who don’t have a lot of colleagues in your group e.g. ACT and ex-Pats may find it convenient to pop into the other groups or if you are traveling interstate to use the group announcement to invite others to catch up.

Early Adopters and Laggards

Those who know Mediation Institute and especially our Directors Joanne Law and Paul Kenna know that we are innovators.Diffusion of Innovations

We were the first to introduce Video Mediation as an effective training methodology in Australia for the Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution and won the eLearning Excellence Award for the VET sector in 2013.

We strongly support the use of technology to reduce cost, time and overcome accessibility barriers for mediators and mediation clients and part of our mission as a Membership Body is to help all of our members to be on the right side of the digital divide.

I am telling you this because unless you push yourself up the diffusion curve and make use of the groups, webinars and joining in on our Video Mediation Role Plays you will miss out on the potential for professional development, collaboration and sharing that they make available to you for free.

We have 50 members now so that means if you fit the norm of the general population we’ve only got about six of you who will actively engage and start to build these groups.

Since only about thirty of you have joined the collaboration course you seem to be right on par for the adoption curve.

Can the Early Adopters please step forward by getting in touch about how you can use the Groups to enhance your membership experience. You know you want to!

Once you do and start getting some content and interaction happening the early majority (another 17 or so of you) will join in and start using the groups more actively to network, ask for resources and share opportunities.

Sometime in a year or two the late majority might twig about all the opportunities they are missing out on and get involved from time time time.

The laggards will probably still not have joined Study 247 be uninterested in doing things in a way that is different to the way they have always done things unless the old opportunities no longer exist.

They say you should always have a call to action at the end of every post so …

Call to action!

– Early Adopters please book in a time to have a chat about how you can benefit from the groups area of the Mediation Institute RMAB Members Collaboration area

– Early Majority please click on the People Link in the course and join the groups that interest you.

– The Late Majority please use the instructions in the Weekly Members Update to log into the Members Collaboration area. It has links to the role play scheduler, lots of tools and resources, information and other good things as well as the links to join the Groups that interest you.

Supervisors – if you are an experienced mediator with more than two years post accreditation experience and are confident that you can provide real value for a mentee send Joanne an email to express your interest in the Supervisors Group.  This is a by invitation group as we want to use it to support the paid supervisors among us to develop a Directory of Supervisors.




What is a fair price for professional FDR Services?

It depends.

Many members have enquired what is an appropriate price to put in the Family Court request for expressions of interest in FDR work for the Federal Circuit Court that was recently circulated to FDRP’s by the Attorney Generals Department.  This email notice required a fixed fee to be specified for the FDR services that are offered to the court.

As a member association we are very aware of the restrictions imposed by the ACCC, Trade Practices and our consumer laws about setting minimum fees and possible cartel behaviour. 

As I said above the price you charge depends on lots of things and is in your hands.

The Court document asks for a fixed fee while many mediators charge an hourly rate for their services. We are required to provide an indication of hourly rate under ethical standards. 

Some have a practice of charging an hourly rate to each participant for the same mediation taking a “one for me and one for overheads” approach.  Normally there is also two intakes and possibly time to write up an agreement after the mediation.

What is the court likely to consider when choosing FDRP’s for their blitz program?

Minimum Qualifications

That you are a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner. 

If you have been holding yourself out as a Family Law Mediator but are not an accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner you are excluded from this opportunity. Find out about training to become a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner with Mediation Institute – CHC81115 – Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution 


How many years have you been doing this job. We do not know if they will be excluding newer FDRP’s but encourage you to submit your expression of interest.

You’ve got to be in it to win it and who knows how long this list will be the active one they use. 

Legal Qualifications

The Court is a court. Lawyers understand the rules of the court and the ways of judges. 

For property mediations particularly being a lawyer may be seen as an advantage, just as for difficult children’s matters being a social worker or psychologist may advantage you. 

Again with the post graduate qualification in Family Dispute Resolution you should be equipped to offer these services but time will tell if there is any sort of bias in the selection of mediators based on their other qualifications. 

Location – Location – Location

Just as in buying a property, where you are based may become a strategic advantage. 

Being the only available FDRP in Katherine, or Cobram or Kempsey may support a higher price that can be charged in Fitzroy or Redfern or Logan. 

But then again there may be more work available in these suburban locations so a lower competitive price may in the long run be in your interest.

Willingness to service circuit locations.  The Court is the Federal Circuit Court –  There are many country locations that do not have the resources that our city registries have access to.

What to charge for your services?

It would have been a lot easier if the court has published a rate that they will contract for and FDRP’s could then make a decision if it is worth their time to do the work.

As it is we are in a blind action type situation, intended or not.

Do you want to get known by the court and play a longer term game by offering a lower price now? 

Do you recognise that the clients are likely to be high conflict and harder work than your usual clients? 

Family law is recession proof. It is a gift that keeps on giving if you are reasonably capable.  You need to price your services at a sustainable level that take into account the number of hours that are likely to be involved.

You are effectively booking a long half day or full day of your time.  You may get finished earlier but you can’t really take on any other direct client work that day as things may drag on.  The court wants resolution if at all possible so you would do yourself a favour if you put in an extra hour or so to get a deal together as it’s the results that will decide if you get invited back to a second mediation.

One of the things that work being offered by the courts to practitioners is that you don’t have to go out and market your services to get work.  For many practices marketing may cost up to 30% of your income to keep clients coming to your door.  For this reason some people believe that you can justify a fair discount if the work is referred by the court.

Going rates

Some published prices that are out there to give you a feeling about “the going rate”

AIFLAM  AIFLAM members are generally legally qualified (although they don’t have to be). 

Joanne Law and I (Paul Kenna) are both members and Joanne is not a lawyer.  They have a fixed fee full day mediation for property mediations up to $750,000 property pool for $2,157 incl. GST  Parties would normally pay for their lawyers fees individually on top of this.

Relationships Australia Victoria

RA Vic have been running property mediation for the Federal Circuit Courts in circuit locations in Vic NSW QLD & SA for the last couple of years.  In City Registries Registrar’s of the courts have jealously protected their running of these services, but in Circuit Courts these resources arn’t available locally.

RA’s commercial rates are based on $300 personal assessment (per Person) plus $1,000 per person for the preparation and one 3 hour mediation session.  So at $2,600 they are a bit dearer than AIFLAM.

Most practitioners and lawyers hide their costs from clients as if they are ashamed of them, and some lawyers ought to be. I have always made my costs agreements available on my website and have regularly published fixed fee services to help simplify individual choice.  Frequently I may not be the cheapest alternative but I have found that people would rather know a figure up front than to be kept in the dark.

Both my partner Joanne Law and I have submitted quotes to the Federal Circuit Court.  The prices are different reflecting the different levels of experience and speciality.  I suspect I will be considered for property mediations because of my long years of experience as a family lawyer. The type of mediation being proposed is not arbitration but one suspects that it will be higher along the spectrum towards evaluative mediation as the focus is on helping people to reach an agreement and get off the courts list. 

In the end my fixed rate was the same that I charge to appear in the court $1,500 + tax for a half day (to 1.00 pm) or $2,000 + tax for a whole day.  Jo’s charges were $250 less than these rates.  We’ll see how we go with the court as we may have left too much money on the table or we may miss out because someone under bids us at $100 per hour.

I recently participated (as lawyer) in a mediation ordered by the Federal Circuit Court. 

I was pretty doubtful as the parties were high conflict and we had a 2 day trial scheduled for Thursday and Friday this week.  After two and a half years working on the case it was amazing to see the parties finally take a practical outcome that suited both parties.  It was a far better outcome than taking on the risks of a trial and a Judge that could have decided either way.



Relationships Australia monthly survey for January 2018 was particularly topical considering the current high profile case of infidelity from the leader of the Nationals Party.

For those who are interested the survey results can be found here – InfidelityInteresting to note that many people make no distinction between emotional infidelity and sexual infidelity in terms of the level of damage it causes to the relationship.

Proposals and Agreements

We were doing feedback after a role play recently and the question of proposals and agreements came up.

When you are learning mediation your mentors will tell you not to rush to agreement.

One of the really common problems is the mediator trying to rush the parties towards an agreement before they fully understand and have the opportunity to consider what is being proposed. It is counter productive and doesn’t work.

Don’t think that the first time you see the parties coming up with options and making proposals that they have an agreement and definitely don’t try to lock them into them!

What’s your proposal?

You could think of proposals in Mediation as being reverse-marriage proposals.

When someone proposes marriage they usually get an immediate reaction without any questions about exactly what they expect the marriage to be like.

If the proposal is accepted then they start working out the when, what will the wedding be like, where will they live and some of the detail of their life together. All without knowing what is being proposed in any detail before they say yes.

If they say no they are rejecting the proposal based on an emotional response without much information about what life together the other person is proposing.

Exploring the proposal before you say yes or no.

If they used mediation to negotiate getting married the mediator would help them to explore the proposal before saying yes or no.

We’d probably have less work as FDR Practitioners if that became common practice.

Proposals and Agreements