Key Dates

ADC History


ADC is an independent, not-for-profit organisation established in 1986, to advance the practice and quality of alternative dispute resolution services such as mediation, conciliation and arbitration in Australia and Internationally.

As one of the first ADR providers in Australia, ADC set the standard for accrediting mediators. This accreditation has since gained wide recognition in business, government and legal communities.

Since its formation ADC has also assisted in the resolution of thousands of disputes and is nominated to facilitate dispute resolution in thousands of business and government contracts.

ADC was established under the name the Australian Commercial Disputes Centre (ACDC) in 1986 by the then NSW Attorney General, the Honourable Justice Terry Sheahan AO, and the Honourable Sir Laurence Street, Chief Justice of the NSW Supreme Court from 1974 to 1988.

ADC was established to introduce non-adversarial dispute resolution processes into Australia. These procedures have been rapidly accepted and adopted as part of the overall business and government approach to dispute resolution.


ADC operates in close cooperation with a number of other organisations in ADR, in 2003, it formed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA), who support and facilitate international arbitration, with ADC focusing on domestic disputes and ACICA on international disputes. This represented a unique opportunity to establish a national centre representing international arbitration and mediation.

In 2003 ADC also assumed responsibility for the secretariat functions of the Australian Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb). The Institute, which was established in London in 1915 with the Australian Branch opening in 1995, aims to “promote and facilitate the determination of disputes by arbitration”. Today CIArb has grown to 14,000+ members located across more than 130 countries with the Australian Branch managing its own secretariat from 2015.

During this period, ADC was the nominated authority for a variety of industry dispute schemes, including the Credit Ombudsman Service (previously the Mortgage Industry Ombudsman Scheme) and the Credit Union Dispute Resolution Centre.


In 2010, ADC ushered in a new era becoming the Australian International Disputes Centre (AIDC), while retaining its domestic focus as ACDC. AIDC relocated to its prestigious headquarters at 1 Castlereagh Street and expanded upon ACDC’s earlier domestic focus to include international arbitration. AIDC was prominent in promoting Australia as premier seat for international arbitration.


In 2015,  ACDC and AIDC continued their dynamic development becoming the Australian Disputes Centre.

Increased globalisation of business and community interest created an opportunity for ADC to integrate its domestic and international service delivery. The new identity had to stand for the independence, professionalism and quality of service that its clients have come to expect, while drawing on the synergies that ‘one brand’ provides in taking its respected and progressive alternative dispute resolution into the next decade.

ADC continues to build on its celebrated history to provide an ADR centre of excellence that is the first choice for businesses, government and the community to resolve or learn how to resolve conflicts and disputes.