General Mediation Rules

Send by email

“Rules” is a legal term that refers to a set of regulations that govern conduct and procedure. They outline exactly what you can expect from us, and your obligations as a client of the FDR Centre.

Our Rules set us apart from other providers. They aim to provide transparency for you as a valued client, and the people that work for us. 

You will be asked to sign a copy of these rules before your mediation session, to acknowledge you have understood them and are therefore bound by them. 

Read them below, or access them on our website.  

The FDR Centre's 'Mediation Protocol', a guide to your rights and responsibilities as a participant in mediation and our 'Terms and Conditions' can also be located on our website.

Forward

The settlement of family and relationship disputes by mediation is an important feature of the legal landscape.

Mediation is a consensual, confidential and informal negotiation process in which parties to a dispute use the services of a skilled and independent mediator to assist them to define the issues in dispute, to develop and explore settlement options, to assess the implications of settlement options and to negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement of that dispute which meets their interests and needs.

The primary objectives of mediation are to enable and empower the parties to negotiate and resolve the dispute promptly, cost effectively and confidentially rather than to have a decision imposed upon them by a judge.

Mediation enables the parties to negotiate flexible and creative solutions which need not conform to strict legal rights or general community standards.

These Rules

To meet those objectives, the Family Dispute Resolution Centre (FDR Centre) has developed Mediation Rules to promote and encourage the negotiated settlement and early and cost effective resolution of family and relationship disputes by mediation, and a Mediation Protocol to provide a guide to the rights and responsibilities of all participants in the mediation process under the Rules.

The Rules and Protocol provide both a framework and detailed provisions to ensure the efficient and cost effective resolution of disputes by mediation. The Rules are set out in a manner designed to facilitate ease of use and may be adopted by agreement in writing at any time before or after a dispute has arisen.

The Rules are intended to give parties the widest choice and the capacity to adopt fully administered mediation procedures which are fair, prompt and cost effective, and that provide structure and certainty to the mediation process.

The FDR Centre has established itself as a leader in family dispute resolution in New Zealand and is a Preferred Family Dispute Resolution Supplier to the Ministry of Justice.

These Mediation Rules allow the FDR Centre to offer a unique dispute resolution service that is specifically tailored to meet the needs and requirements of parties to all kinds of family and relationship disputes in New Zealand – the Rules are fundamentally and purposively directed to ensuring the resolution of family and relationship disputes in a manner that is private, efficient, flexible, cost effective and certain.
 

Rules for General Mediation

1.0 Introduction
  
1.1 These are the Rules for Mediation of the New Zealand Family Dispute Resolution Centre (FDR Centre) and may be referred to as the FDR Centre Mediation Rules (Rules).

1.2 These Rules apply to family and relationship disputes that do not concern parenting or guardianship matters. In disputes involving parenting or guardianship matters the FDR Centre Family Dispute Resolution Rules will apply.

1.3 Where a dispute has been referred to the FDR Centre for mediation (or words to the same effect), the mediation will be conducted in accordance with these Rules subject to such modification as the parties may agree in writing.

1.4 Where the parties have agreed to refer a dispute to the FDR Centre for mediation, the parties will be taken to have agreed in writing that the version of the FDR Centre’s Mediation Rules and Mediation Protocol in effect at the date the Mediation Agreement is signed applies to the mediation.

1.5 The FDR Centre owns copyright to these Rules and the Mediation Protocol and they may only be used by parties, or intending parties, to a mediation administered by the FDR Centre.

2.0 Appointment

2.1 Any party to a family or relationship dispute in respect of which the parties have agreed to refer the dispute to mediation by the FDR Centre, or words to the same effect, may apply for the appointment of a mediator (the Mediator) by completing the online application form on the FDR Centre’s website at www.fdrc.co.nz and attaching a copy of the parties’ Mediation Agreement (the Application).

2.2 On receipt of the Application and payment of the relevant Fee for mediation set out in Appendix 1 to these Rules, the FDR Centre will make the necessary administrative arrangements for the mediation including among other things, appointing the most appropriate available Mediator to mediate the family or relationship dispute on the date(s) that the parties have indicated as their preferred date(s) for mediation.

2.3 In making any appointment, the FDR Centre will have regard to, but will not be bound by, any Mediator preferences indicated by the parties in the Application.

2.4 The parties must accept the appointment of the Mediator appointed by the FDR Centre unless a party can demonstrate on reasonable grounds that circumstances exist that give rise to justifiable doubts as to the Mediator’s impartiality or independence in the eyes of any of the parties.

2.5 The decision as to whether to appoint a substitute Mediator will be made by the FDR Centre promptly after consulting with the parties and the challenged Mediator. The decision is of an administrative nature and is final and binding on the parties and the Mediator. It is not subject to appeal to the FDR Centre, or any court or other body having jurisdiction and the FDR Centre is not required to state or communicate reasons for its decision.

3.0 Mediation

3.1 The Mediator may conduct the mediation in such manner as the Mediator thinks fit, having regard to the nature and circumstances of the matters in dispute and may arrange conferences and mediation sessions at times to suit the parties.

3.2 The Mediator may conduct the mediation in person, or by telephone, or by any other electronic medium that the Mediator considers is appropriate to use in the circumstances of the family or relationship dispute.

3.3 The parties must co-operate in good faith with the Mediator and with every other party to the dispute in attempting to settle the matters in difference and agree to comply with the Mediator's reasonable directions to attend mediation sessions and provide information.

3.4 The Mediator may conduct joint and separate conferences with any or all of the parties at any time for the purposes of the mediation.

3.5 The Mediator will not provide technical or legal advice.

3.6 Parties may be represented or supported at mediation by any person whether legally trained or not (Representative) provided that the engagement of the Representative by a party does not threaten or bring into question the integrity of the mediation due to a past or present relationship with any party unless none of the parties object after proper disclosure.

3.7 Parties must advise the Mediator of the names and relevant details of those persons who will be accompanying them at any mediation session not less than three (3) working days prior to the session. The Mediator will advise the other parties accordingly. The Representative will be required by the Mediator to sign a Confidentiality Agreement in the form found at Appendix 2 to these Rules as a condition of the Representative’s attendance at Mediation.

3.8 The Mediator may withhold approval for a Representative to attend mediation where the Mediator, in his or her sole discretion, considers the Representative’s attendance could threaten or bring into question the integrity of the mediation.

3.9 Parties must attend any mediation session in person and must be able to make final and conclusive decisions.

3.10 Parties must not at any time before, during or after the mediation, call the Mediator to testify in any legal or administrative proceeding concerning the dispute or the nature and extent of any agreement(s) that may be reached as a result of the mediation.

3.11 Parties may not call for the records, notes or work product of the Mediator for any purpose including any legal or administrative proceeding that might arise before, during, or after the mediation. However, any written agreement resulting from the mediation that is intended by the parties to have legal effect and to be legally enforceable may be subpoenaed, called for, or produced in any proceedings to which it is relevant.

3.12 The parties must pay the FDR Centre the relevant fees and expenses as set out in Appendix 1 to these Rules prior to delivery of the service. The FDR Centre’s fees and expenses are payable in advance by way of security for future fees and expenses and within  three (3) calendar days of receipt of an invoice for any additional fees and/or expenses that may be incurred.

3.13 The parties are jointly and severally liable for the fees and expenses of the mediation, together with any additional costs howsoever incurred by the FDR Centre in recovering any overdue monies on a full indemnity basis.

3.14 The mediation will be held without prejudice to any other common law rights or remedies.

4.0 Suspension/Termination

4.1   The Mediation may be suspended or terminated at any time:

(a) by a Party after consultation with the Mediator; or

(b) by the Mediator if the Mediator feels unable to assist the Parties to achieve resolution of the Dispute; or

(c) by the Mediator, if the Mediator determines on reasonable grounds that a Party is not engaged in the Mediation in good faith.

5.0 Settlement

5.1 If agreement is reached on any or all matters, such agreement must be recorded in writing together with the signatures of the Parties (Settlement Agreement). A Settlement Agreement will be legally binding on the Parties and any Party may enforce the terms of the Settlement Agreement by issuing court proceedings.

5.2 If the Mediator considers that any agreement reached may be illegal or impossible to enforce or uphold, the Mediator will recommend to the Parties that they take further independent legal advice.

5.3 The Parties are under a duty at all times following the Mediation to abide by the terms of any Settlement Agreement in good faith and in a timely manner.

5.4 Where a partial agreement has been reached, the Mediator will discuss with the parties the procedures available to them to resolve the remaining issues.

6.0 Confidentiality

6.1 The parties, their representatives, the Mediator, the FDR Centre and any other person involved in the mediation must keep confidential and not disclose Confidential Information to any non-party. Confidential Information includes:

(a) any statement, admission or document created or made for the purpose of the mediation and all matters disclosed orally in the course of the mediation;

(b) all non-public materials and information provided for the mediation by a party, including documents used or generated for the purpose by a representative or adviser to a party in the mediation; and

(c) the terms of any Settlement Agreement.

6.2 If a party wishes to involve in the mediation a non-party including a support person, representative, translator, interpreter, or any other person, that party must secure the non-party’s advance agreement to preserve the confidentiality of the Confidential Information. This agreement must be recorded in the form provided at Appendix 2 to these Rules and a copy of the agreement signed by each non-party must be provided to the Mediator by that party.

6.3 Notwithstanding Rules 6.1 and 6.2 the FDR Centre, a party, the Mediator or a non-party involved in the mediation may disclose Confidential Information to the extent necessary to:

(a) protect the safety of any person from being endangered;

(b) enforce any Settlement Agreement reached in the mediation;

(c) pursue a legal right;

(d) protect a party’s legal rights in relation to a third party;

(e) respond to legitimate subpoena, governmental request for information, or other compulsory process;

(f) respond to a professional or other adviser of any of the parties after that person has signed the confidentiality agreement;

(g) comply with the order of a court of competent jurisdiction, or any legal requirement which is binding on the party making the disclosure.

provided always that such publication, disclosure, or communication is no more than what is reasonably required for the purpose.

6.4 Any person intending to make disclosure under Rules 6.3(b) - (g) must, within a reasonable period of time prior to the intended disclosure, notify the Mediator, every other party and the FDR Centre. This notification must include full details of the intended disclosure and an explanation of the reasons for it.

7.0 Exclusion of Liability

7.1 The parties together and separately release and discharge the Mediator and the FDR Centre, its agents and employees, from all liability of any kind (whether involving negligence, misrepresentation, breach of contract, or breach of any equitable, fiduciary, statutory or other duty, or otherwise) which may be alleged to arise in connection with, or to result from, or to in any way relate to the exercise of any of their functions, duties, or powers, whether under New Zealand law, or these Rules, or otherwise, unless the act or omission is the fraudulent act of the Mediator, the FDR Centre, its agents or its employees. The Mediator, the FDR Centre, or any agent or employee of the FDR Centre, who has not acted fraudulently and is shown to be unaware of the fraud of any other person, will continue to be released and discharged from liability as provided in these Rules.

7.2 No statements or comments, whether written or oral, made or used by the Mediator, the FDR Centre, its agents or employees in connection with, or to result from, or to in any way relate to the mediation, may be relied upon to found or maintain any action for defamation, libel, slander or any related complaint.

7.3 The parties together and separately undertake to indemnify and keep indemnified the Mediator, the FDR Centre, its agents and  employees, against all claims, costs, expenses, liabilities, awards, damages and proceedings of any kind (properly sustained or incurred by them directly, or indirectly made by any third party) in relation to, or in connection with, the exercise of their functions, duties, or powers, whether under New Zealand law, or these Rules, or otherwise, unless the act or omission is the fraudulent act of the Mediator, or the FDR Centre, its agents or its employees. If the Mediator, the FDR Centre, or any agent or employee of the FDR Centre has not acted fraudulently and is shown to be unaware of the fraud of any other person, he or she will continue to be indemnified as provided herein.

7.4 The purpose of Rules 7.1 – 7.3 is to provide the Mediator and the FDR Centre, its agents and employees with the widest immunity from liability that the law will allow.

8.0 Miscellaneous

8.1 All decisions of the FDR Centre with respect to its functions and obligations under these Rules are final and binding on the Parties and the Mediator. Such decisions are of an administrative nature and the FDR Centre is not required to state or communicate reasons for its decisions.

8.2 By agreeing to Mediation under these Rules, the Parties and the Mediator are deemed to have agreed not to apply to any Court, judicial authority, or any other body having jurisdiction, for any relief regarding the FDR Centre’s jurisdiction or authority under these Rules.

8.3 In all matters not expressly provided for in these Rules, the Parties, the FDR Centre, and the Mediator, must act in the spirit of these Rules and must make every effort to ensure that a Settlement Agreement made under these Rules is enforceable.

8.4 The FDR Centre may from time to time issue Practice Notes to supplement, regulate and implement these Rules for the purpose of facilitating the administration of Mediations governed by these Rules.

 

APPENDIX 1

FEES AND EXPENSES FOR MEDIATION

The FDR Centre provides a fully administered mediation service.

Fees for mediation

The standard fee for mediation is $1,900.00 including GST.

Our standard Fee for mediation includes administration and appointment of the Mediator, all advance preparation time and attendances by the Mediator, 2.0 hrs initial information intake sessions with the parties separately in preparation for mediation and one joint mediation session for a period of up to 3.0 hours between either 9.00am and 12.00pm or 1.00pm and 4.00pm on any given day of the year unless other arrangements are made by agreement with the Mediator.

Additional mediation

If the parties require more than the allocated 5.0 hours for mediation, the mediation session can in some cases be extended with the agreement of the Mediator, subject to availability on the day.

Any additional time required on the same day is charged on an hourly basis at $300.00 per hour including GST and is payable in advance on the day by credit/debit card or direct credit through the FDR Centre’s website.

Where the parties wish to reconvene the mediation on another day, the FDR Centre charges a fee of $900.00 including GST for a further mediation session of up to 3.0 hours duration.   

When is payment required?

We require payment of all fees in advance of delivery of our mediation service.

The standard mediation fee of $1,900.00 must be paid at the time the Application for Mediation is submitted to the FDR Centre, or immediately after. No administrative or procedural steps will be taken by the FDR Centre until payment is made and the funds are cleared.

Any additional mediation sessions must be paid for in advance.

If the parties wish the Mediator to provide more than the 3.0 hours that have been allocated to the case on the day of the allocated joint mediation session, the parties must pay for that additional time in advance through the FDR Centre’s website. This can be simply and easily done by credit/debit card or direct credit through the FDR Centre’s website during a break at the end of the allocated 3.0 hour session.

If additional mediation is required on another day after the first mediation session has been held, the parties must pay the FDR Centre’s fee of $900.00 including GST for a further mediation session of up to 3.0 hours duration. This can be simply and easily done by credit/debit card or direct credit through the FDR Centre’s website prior to any future session(s) and in any event, within 3 days of the date of the request.

Co-mediation

In disputes involving multiple parties/multiple interest groups (generally claims involving more than 4 parties) the FDR Centre provides a co-mediation service whereby two (or more) mediators work together with the parties to mediate the dispute. We find that this service delivers a far more efficient mediation process because it enables the parties to work in various interest groups at the same time with the assistance of a mediator, thus progressing the identification and resolution of matters at issue in a far more cost effective and timely manner. If you think our co-mediation service would be appropriate and beneficial for the mediation of your dispute, please call one of our Case Managers to discuss the additional cost for this service.

Liability for payment

The parties are free to make any arrangements as between them for payment of the FDR Centre’s fees.

However, and notwithstanding any agreement as between the parties, the parties are jointly and severally liable for the FDR Centre’s fees and expenses together with any additional costs incurred by the FDR Centre in recovering any overdue monies on a full indemnity basis.

Methods of payment

Payment of all FDR Centre fees can be made by direct credit or by credit card (Visa and MasterCard only).

Please note that if paying by credit card there is a merchant transaction fee of 2.75% payable in addition to the published FDR Centre Fee.

Cancellation fees

If an application for mediation is withdrawn or cancelled more than 14 days from and including the date of a scheduled mediation session, the FDR Centre will charge a cancellation fee in the amount of $250.00. The cancellation fee will be deducted from the fee paid and the balance of the monies will be refunded to the parties in the proportions in which the security payment was made.

In any case where a party notifies the FDR Centre in writing that a scheduled mediation session is to be vacated (whether the dispute between the parties has been settled, or the mediation session is adjourned by agreement, or the application for mediation is withdrawn or terminated for any reason whatsoever) and the notice is received by the FDR Centre during ordinary business hours between 14 and 8 days from and including the date of the scheduled mediation session, the FDR Centre will charge a cancellation fee in the amount of 50% of the relevant Fee.

If such notice is received 7 days or less from and including the date of the scheduled mediation session, the FDR Centre will charge a cancellation fee in the amount of 75% of the Fee.

If for whatever reason the parties do not attend a scheduled mediation session and do not give advance notice, the full Fee for that session will be forfeited.

Where a scheduled mediation session is vacated 14 days or less from and including the date of the scheduled mediation session, the parties must pay the FDR Centre the forfeited portion of the relevant Fee before a further mediation session date will be allocated.

 

APPENDIX 2

CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENT
FOR REPRESENTATIVES AND SUPPORT PERSONS
OF PARTIES TO MEDIATION

The purpose of this agreement is to ensure that you understand the responsibilities that you have to the parties and to the mediation process and that you agree to maintain the confidentiality of the mediation involving the following parties:

THE PARTIES:

BETWEEN                                                                                                    

   (Name of First Party)

AND                                                                                                               

   (Name of Second Party)

together ‘the Parties’

I understand that the mediation process is private and agree to maintain the confidentiality of the process.

I understand that any agreed terms of settlement and any statement, admission, or document created or made for the purpose of the mediation, and all matters disclosed orally in the course of the mediation shall remain confidential to the parties and shall not be disclosed or adduced in subsequent proceedings. This requirement is subject to disclosure necessary to:

(a) protect the safety of any person from being endangered;

(b) enforce any settlement agreement reached in the mediation;

(c) pursue a legal right;

(d)  protect a party’s legal rights in relation to a third party;

(e)  respond to legitimate subpoena, governmental request for information, or other compulsory process;

(f) respond to a professional or other adviser of any of the parties after that person has signed the confidentiality agreement;

(g) comply with the order of a court of competent jurisdiction, or any legal requirement which is binding on the party making the disclosure.

provided always that such publication, disclosure or communication is no more than what is reasonably required for the purpose. To the extent that I am required to disclose any information either by law or otherwise under (b) - (g) above, I agree to immediately notify the parties, the Mediator and the FDR Centre of such requirement including full details of the intended disclosure and the reasons for it.

I confirm that I have read and understood this confidentiality agreement.

I have no further questions with regard to the nature or confidentiality of the FDR Mediation process, and I agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement.

 

Dated this ___________________  (day) _______________________________  (month) _________ (year)

Signature:    

Name:   

Occupation:    

Signature:    

Name:     

Occupation:    

Signature:   

Name:   

Occupation:   

Signature:    

Name:     

Occupation:   

Signature:    

Name:   

Occupation:  

 

APPENDIX 3

MEDIATION AGREEMENT

By an Agreement made the ___________________  (day) _______________________________  (month) _________ (year)

BETWEEN                                                                                                    

  (Name of First Party)

AND                                                                                                               

   (Name of Second Party)

together ‘the Parties’

The Parties have agreed that that [all matters in dispute between them / the matters in dispute between them set out in the attached Schedule (delete one)] shall be referred to Mediation in accordance with the Mediation Rules of the New Zealand Family Dispute Resolution Centre (FDR Centre Mediation Rules).

(Optional additional provision for arbitration where dispute not settled within a defined period)

If the dispute is not settled by mediation within [ x ] days of service of a Notice of Mediation by any Party, or such further period as the Parties agree in writing, the dispute will be referred to and finally resolved by arbitration under the Arbitration Rules of the New Zealand Family Dispute Resolution Centre.

On execution of this Mediation Agreement any Party may initiate the Mediation by completing an Application for Mediation in terms of Rule 2.1.

Notices to the First Party:

Notices to the First Party shall be given to an address for service which is:

Phone: + 64   
Fax:  + 64  
Mobile: + 64
E-mail:

Notices to the Second Party:

Notices to the Second Party shall be given to an address for service which is:

Phone: + 64  
Fax:  + 64  
Mobile: + 64
E-mail:

 

I certify that: I have read and understood this Mediation Agreement and the FDR Centre Mediation Rules; and

I agree to be bound by the terms of this Mediation Agreement and the FDR Centre Mediation Rules.

Dated  this ___________________  (day) _______________________________  (month) _________ (year)

 

  

Signed by:   _____________________________ Name: ______________________
(First Party)

Signed by:  ______________________________ Name: ______________________
(Second Party)

 

APPENDIX 4

SCHEDULE OF MATTERS IN DISPUTE
FOR REFERENCE TO MEDIATION

The Parties have agreed that the following matters in dispute are the matters to be submitted to Mediation:

[a]