CEO update | April 2018
A claim that Resolution Institute frequently makes is that it is “a voice for members”. As your membership organisation, Resolution Institute is alert to legislative and scheme reviews which could have an impact on or open opportunities for our members. As the largest professional member organisation for dispute resolvers, Resolution Institute has the stature and credibility to be listened to by government agencies and businesses. We are the “voice” for members in circumstances which often hinder or preclude individuals making comment.
We regularly present core Resolution Institute platforms about the value of providing a range of dispute resolution options for clients, the centrality of impartiality, the potential to customise DR processes to suit clients’ needs, the benefits of flexibility and time and cost effectiveness, the importance of using trained and qualified dispute resolvers and the assurance of quality and professionalism that membership of Resolution Institute provides.
To add to these core platforms, whenever possible or appropriate, we seek the views of members on the specific issues under review. Sometimes this means preparing and distributing a survey; other times it means partnering with local groups to hold meetings at which members share their perspectives; and at other times again, it may mean calling key members of locally based Chapter, Special Interest or networking groups for comment. ON occasion, the short time frames particularly related to administrative reviews, require Resolution Institute staff to respond very quickly without member consultation.
A number of significant reviews seem always to be in progress. Currently, two are considering building and construction industry security of payments schemes, one in NSW and one in Western Australia. Another two are focussed on family law, one being led by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) reviewing family law in Australia and another In New Zealand recently announced by the Minister of Justice.
Security of Payments schemes operate within different state jurisdictions across Australia and in New Zealand. The Australian schemes were subject to a major national review in 2017. Resolution Institute member John Murray AM, appointed to conduct the review, received Resolution Institute arms-length cooperation and input both from state Chapters and from national office as well as from a large range of others interested or with a stake in security of payments schemes. John completed the review in late 2017. The next step is for the review to be released by the federal government. In the meantime, states are continuing to consider opportunities for improvements to their own schemes.
In NSW, in our capacity as an Authorised Nomination Authority we were invited to attend a meeting with the NSW regulator, and make a response within a very short timeframe on specific implementation issues. In WA, the current review is particularly focused on the needs of sub-contractors. The WA Chapter is working very actively to engage local adjudicator members. The meeting held to seek the views of local adjudicators on the first phase of the Inquiry, was well attended, an indicator of the importance of the issues being canvassed to the interests of dispute resolvers. The draft of the response prepared by two WA Chapter members became the core of the Response completed and submitted by the Resolution Institute staff team. A great partnership between local Chapter and Resolution Institute staff!
In New Zealand Resolution Institute recently responded to the Law Commission’s Property (Relationship) Act review and we are awaiting more information on the process for the review of the family justice system announced recently by Minister of Justice Andrew Little. Resolution Institute continues to meet with the Ministry of Justice on FDR and will work to ensure that members have opportunities to express their thoughts in the review.
The Report from the ALRC about its review of family law In Australia is due in March 2019 (the review having commenced in late 2017). This is the first review of the Family Law Act (1975) (CTH) since 1976 and occurs in a context of changed and greater diversity of family structures and of family and social needs. Resolution Institute recognises the importance of families being able to access ways to resolve their disputes that provide them with dignity and respect and deliver strong outcomes for all family members and in the best interests of children. Resolution Institute also recognises that a significant number of our members both in Australia and New Zealand specialise in family dispute resolution. This means that we have a wealth of expertise to draw upon to prepare our Response to the recently released ALRC Issues Paper. As well, we have a responsibility to be a “voice” for our members who work in this critically important area for our communities.
In addition to the Resolution Institute office inviting members to complete a survey about the Family Law review, the NSW Family Dispute Resolution Special Interest Group (SIG) is hosting and facilitating a session at which members will discuss key issues. The SIG will collate the comments from this session to augment survey responses and to inform the Response by Resolution Institute. Another fine example of a very productive partnership between a local SIG and Resolution Institute staff.
I hope you take the time to dip into the Resolution Institute Responses to the WA Security of Payments inquiry and the NSW SOP review published in the April edition of Pulse. The Response to the Australian Family Law review will be published in the May edition and we will keep you updated on progress on the review of the family justice system in NZ.
Chief Executive Officer
26 April 2018