The NSW government recently introduced a new law, which provides people with the choice to make their agreements legally enforceable, when they resolve disputes through the NSW Government’s free community mediation service. This service is becoming an increasingly popular way of resolving neighbour disputes. This is due to the fact that it takes away the lengthy and costly process of taking someone to court, since both parties are now able to make the agreements legally binding.

There are many types of issues that can be dealt with through the NSW Government’s free community mediation service. Many of these are common issues which may not warrant the time and money involved in a court case, but mediation could be a suitable and viable option.

•   Abandoned Vehicles

•   Disputes over Fences

•   Disputes over Pets

•   Disputes over Swimming Pools

•   Disputes over Trees

•   Disputes over Water

•   Noise Disputes

•   Neighbours Who Continuously Gather Rubbish

•   Problems with Air Pollution & Odours

Until recently the agreements reached through mediation could only be made in ‘good faith’. However, if both parties agree, the results of the mediation can become legally enforceable such that both parties must uphold their side of the negotiation unless they wish to face legal action and have the agreement enforced upon them in court. While it is not likely that people will break their side of the agreement, seeing as they agreed on the outcome in mediation; it is often better to be safe than sorry. This is especially the case when mediation has been court-ordered since both parties want to put an end to the matter and not have to worry about it anymore.

The recent amendments remove the previous restriction in the Community Justice Centres Act that prevented legal enforcement, although the parties involved in the mediation can still choose to not make the agreement legally enforceable.

Other than mediation there are a variety of other ways to resolve your neighbour disputes:

•   Talking to your neighbour directly but politely

•   Ringing the Police

•   Communication with your local council

•   Local Court attendance

For more information regarding common neighbour dispute issues and general advice on possible remedies and solutions please visit our dedicated website Neighbour Disputes. If you are having problems with your neighbours, the experienced lawyers here at The Quinn Group may be able to help you resolve them. Please submit an online enquiry for more information or call us on 1300 QUINNS (784 667) or on +61 2 9223 9166.