One of the enduring problems with litigation in the Magistrates Court is that costs are high compared to the value of the case. As a consequence the cost of private mediation can be prohibitive.
However, a major step to address the problem is a scheme instituted by the Court, known as the “SLEM” scheme, that can reduce the costs of a private mediator and venue to as little as $1,450.
Last week, I attended a mediation under the “SLEM” scheme for the first time.
“SLEM” stands for Single List of External Mediators. It is a list of mediators for civil matters in the Magistrates Court who are regarded as suitable as external mediators, in the alternative to a registrar or deputy registrar. Each mediator on the SLEM has agreed to limit their fee to the fixed rate of $1,100, for at least three mediations a year, to encourage access to mediation in the Magistrates Court.
In addition, where the mediator is a member of the bar, the Victorian Bar mediation centre will provide rooms for a SLEM mediation at a cost of $350, as part of the scheme.
The mediation I attended was conducted very effectively by Carey Nichols, a barrister mediator who is a member of the SLEM list. The matter settled.
For information on the scheme see the Magistrates Court website link.