The dynamic and quickly evolving nature of dispute resolution in Australia was explored in detail at the ADRA State of Dispute Resolution Conference and Workshop at Clayton Utz, Sydney on 22 August 2017. The day, introduced by Mary Walker on behalf of ADRA, saw keynote addresses from two senior members of the judiciary – the Honourable Patricia Bergin and the Honourable Thomas Bathurst AC. The Keynote speakers, together with specialist ADR presenters explored topical issues affecting the ADR industry. Notable issues discussed were the growth of ADR and the comprehensive and cohesive relationship it has formed with the court system, and the effect of technology on dispute resolution.

 The View of ADR From The Judiciary

The Honourable Patricia Bergin

 The first keynote speech was presented by the Honourable Patricia Bergin. Justice Bergin spoke of her experiences with commercial cases as the Chief Judge of the Equity Division of the NSW Supreme Court. She noted that Dispute Resolution has grown exponentially in Australia, in part because of its connection with the judicial process. Justice Bergin sees that the two approaches – commercial dispute resolution and commercial litigation – have a cohesive relationship within the NSW Court system. The Courts have responded to the needs of commercial parties and moved to bring about speedier resolution of matters, including adopting a case management approach to its list. Part of that approach is selecting the right time for sending parties to mediate, in her experience, later mediation is better in achieving settlement. Justice Bergin also referenced the use of technology and the way that Technology Assisted Review of documents will reduce the cost of litigation.

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Edward and Susan are interns at the Australian Disputes Centre and the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration.

Susan Lee is completing her LLM at UNSW.

Edward Basha is completing a BA/LLB at Macquarie University.