Research Background: Mediation has been recognised by federal and state governments as an important tool in improving access to justice for ordinary citizens. Ensuring mediation reflects the values of the access to justice movement is a goal which policy makers, practitioners, courts and tribunal aspire to but no research has explored the justice quality of mediation from an access to justice perspective.
Research Contribution: This pilot research examines the relationship between mediation and justice particularly procedural and substantive justice. It explores how disadvantage which may impact on effective participation in mediation is identified and addressed by mediators and identifies barriers to ensuring mediation delivers access to justice goals. It then develops criteria for measuring justice quality recognising that the content and context of mediation would have a bearing on the assessment of justice and as such, further research is required.
Research Significance: The significance of this research is that it brings the issue of justice and accountability to the forefront in mediation practice. Findings of this research has been written into a journal article in the Monash University Law Review and additional funding was received from the Legal Services Board Victoria to further research on improving the justice quality of mediation through development of a practical guide for mediators.