Sir Laurence Street

14th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales, pioneered alternative dispute resolution and ascertained the return to Australia of Indigenous Australian remains from the National History Museum in London, the first such mediation.

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Micheline Dewdney

David Newton

With 30 years experience in the mediation industry and thousands of mediations later, David remained devoted to the facilitative mediation model .

David was a qualified lawyer, a highly experienced mediator and conciliator of commercial disputes. He was appointed by the Australian Government
as Mediation Adviser, Ombudsman and Dispute Resolution Adviser. He was a founding member of ADRA and later conducted mediator training programmes
in many countries.

He established the Accord Group in July 1991 which specialised in commercial mediation services, mediator training and
industry dispute resolution schemes. Its training programme has been approved by many international dispute resolution bodies throughout Asia Pacific and in Bahrain.

David was a very positive force in the Dispute Resolution industry.

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Jennifer David

Role of Professor Jennifer David in establishing ADR in the legal and commercial sectors in Australia, as well as its credibility at a political level

In 1986, she conducted the first lectures in ADR at the Faculty of Law at the University of Sydney.

Also in 1986, she presented Australia’s first ADR conference paper at the Institute of Criminology’s annual conference in Hobart.

In 1987, she worked with the Institute of Criminology’s Don Weatherburn to convene Australia’s first ADR conference (held in Canberra).

She founded, co-founded or was instrumental in founding:

  • 1986 – Australian Commercial Disputes Centre (Terry Sheahan AO, then A-G NSW); was instrumental in bringing Harvard team to Australia and co-trained with them conducting Australia’s first mediation training course through ACDC (Joanna Kalowski attended that course); it was while at ACDC that she trained Sir Laurence Street QC KCMG
  • 1987 – Alternative Dispute Resolution Association of Australia (as it then was); through ADRA, pioneered the development of formal assessment procedures for mediation training
  • 1989 – Lawyers Engaged in Alternative Dispute Resolution (as it then was); first CEO, Secretary and mediation trainer

1988 – conducted IAMA’s first mediation course (in NSW, though it was just the Institute of Arbitrators, then); in 2001, she co-developed IAMA’s first national mediation course.  According to Janet Grey, she was prominently influential in IAMA accepting mediation and changing its name.  In the early 1990’s then President, Clyde Croft, sought her advice about the Institute seeking to work with a university in establishing a national mediation course; she convinced him that it would be better for the Institute to run the course in its own right and maintain control of the content and the income it generated.

1989 – As Associate Professor, was co-founder of the Dispute Resolution Centre, Bond University

1994 – world’s first Chair of Dispute Resolution: Freehill, Hollingdale and Page Professor of Law and Dispute Resolution, UTS; founding Director of the UTS Centre for Dispute Resolution

1995 (October) – Foundation member of NADRAC

Developed first ADR post-graduate degrees in Australian Law Faculties:  University of Sydney, UTS (first masters graduate in 1994), UWS and ANU.  She provided supervision to many student researchers, including Professor Tania Sourdin.

1990 – Instrumental in establishing ADR Journal (Law Book Company)

1994 – Founding Editor of Commercial Dispute Resolution Journal (Butterworths)

Was also a foundation member of the NSW law Society’s Dispute Resolution Committee

Was highly influential in establishing Australia’s ADR presence in Asia through her conduct of many ADR, negotiation and mediation courses to judges, court officials and legal administrators in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Brunei, Singapore and Indonesia.  She also conducted mediation training at the UN Headquarters in New York City.

As Gerald Raftesath said in November 2012: “…her contribution was pivotal in Australia developing into one of the world’s leading ADR jurisdictions.”

Jennifer David

Peter Irving

Peter was a Past President of ADRA and a longstanding coach as part of the training faculty for ADC’s Mediation Training Course, a role which allowed him to bring his wealth of knowledge and experience to shaping and moulding the skills of the next generation of mediators.

In 2016 during an interview with ADRA, Peter expressed his interest in the ability of mediation to explore the deeper emotional foundation of many disputes. In the words of his nephew, ‘he was utterly sincere in his love for humanity’, and this he brought to every facet of his life, which those who were fortunate enough to have worked with him will certainly testify to. His passion and commitment to mediation were second to none, and his compassion undoubtedly a quality which served him well in his thirty year long career, rendering him capable of facilitating even the toughest of disputes between the most adversarial of opposing parties. Given his patient and understanding demeanour, his contributions to teaching the art of mediation will definitely not be forgotten, and he was a coach well-loved by his students.

Peter was a gentleman and his calm presence and contribution to mediation will be greatly missed.

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Ruth Charlton

Many younger devotees of ADR may not be aware of how significant Ruth Charlton’s role in its advancement has been. Those of us who have been involved for many years are in awe of her efforts and her standing – we stand on the shoulders of several giants, but none more significant than Life member, Ruth Charlton.

Ruth was not just an inspiration but living proof that being a woman in a world with as much animosity against Dispute Resolution as there was 30 years ago from the legal profession in Sydney was still no barrier to getting things done. Dispute Resolution in Australia survived those difficult days from the efforts of giants like Ruth who continued to simply work silently in the background, pushing the wagon of Dispute Resolution as the way forward for the future. Ruth leaves a legacy as the editor of the Australian Dispute Resolution Journal for over 30 years and that is just one of her accomplishments. The journal began its life as a newsletter from ADRA and ADRA is very proud that it was the original home of such dispute resolution devotees who became giants in their field, like Ruth Charlton.

Ruth Charlton

Linda Fisher

Linda Fisher, BA, (University New England) MA (University of Sydney), B.Ed (UNSW), began her mediating career in 1980 in the first intake for Community Justice Centres in Sydney.

She had a background in psychology and adult education, and has been a practitioner, lecturer, trainer, clinical supervisor and researcher in dispute resolution for over 30 years. Her areas of conflict resolution practice include extensive experience in family, community, workplace and farm debt mediation. She is also an accredited Myers-Briggs practitioner.

Linda has published extensively. In 1990 she undertook research on mediation in the USA and the UK on a Law Foundation of NSW Travelling Fellowship. In 2008 she was invited by the Human Rights & Equal Opportunities Commission and the National Judges College in China to speak there on Australian family mediation, following which she also addressed the Family Court in Israel.

Linda established the family mediation service in New South Wales for Relationships Australia.

While there, in 1994, anticipating changes to the Family Law Act, she published Australia’s first Parenting Plan, a guide for parents. She was a founding board member of the Australian Dispute Resolution Association. She was an Advanced Practitioner Member of Resolution Institute and of the Australian Dispute Centre.

She also held appointment as a guardian ad litem in the NSW Children’s Court and in the Administrative Decisions Tribunal, and was an editorial consultant to the Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal. 

Linda was a registered family dispute resolution practitioner and accredited under the National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS).

Linda Fisher