Re-assessment of QCAT'S hybrid hearing and arb-med-arb under s 27D of the Commercial Arbitration Act
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This article examines two developments in dispute resolution practice in Queensland, the “hybrid hearing” established by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) and the procedure contemplated by s 27D of the Commercial Arbitration Act 2013 (Qld). In each case, elements of adjudication and mediation have been combined to form a “hybrid” procedure which, if taken through to its conclusion, results in a process known as “arb-med-arb”. Critics of these provisions argue that the resulting process may be a whole which is less than the sum of its parts. In particular, it is claimed that mediation may be compromised. The author is one such critic. In this article, the author reassesses QCAT’s hybrid hearing and the arb-med-arb procedure envisaged by s 27D of the Commercial Arbitration Act using principles of dispute systems design, as well as those derived from research on procedural justice. The author concludes that there may be reason for optimism about these processes.
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