Articles

Mediation and the rise of relationship contracting

by Greg Rooney, Lecturer, University of Queensland

The last decade has been marked by a radical shift in how the law and lawyers are perceived by the public. The rise of mediation has partly driven this change. It has lead to a re-evaluation of the ways we deal with conflict. The commercial world has taken this on board and has come up with contractual arrangements that push way beyond current legal practice and judicial precedent. In short these arrangements seek to oust the jurisdiction of the courts in relation to conflict, to create agreements that are, in effect, agreements to agree and to emphasise personal relationships over lawyer driven fixed and binding contracts.

These delivery systems have been used successfully in a number of major projects including the new National Museum in Canberra and the turn around of the one billion dollar Pacific Motorway in Queensland. This article will discuss how these systems have developed in parallel with mediation and their implication for lawyers.

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