Mediation and Disputes

First the ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win
- Mahatma Gandhi

ACC Disputes & Reviews

If you feel you are in conflict with ACC, DRSL provides mediation and facilitation services.

DRSL also conducts ACC reviews for people who are unhappy about a decision or outcome of their ACC claim. People who contact DRSL with an ACC dispute are encouraged to try facilitation or mediation first, to try and resolve the problem. However if mediation isn’t successful, or you want to go straight to an ACC Review, DRSL can also help you with that.

ACC Decision Reviews

If you want to have an ACC decision reviewed, you need to apply for a review with ACC, which will then be forwarded to DRSL.

The ACC review process is a formal process where both sides meet with an independent and unbiased reviewer (usually from DRSL). The reviewer looks at all of the information that has been provided and makes a decision on what needs to be done to resolve the dispute. This can be anything from upholding the original ACC decision to overturning it, including decisions about money and payments.
Any decision made by the reviewer is binding. People who are unhappy with their review decision can make an appeal by applying to the District Court, within 28 days of the review decision.
If you have applied for, or are in the process of a review you can still make a complaint to ACC at any stage about the management of your claim. If the reviewer and both sides agree you can put a review on hold while a complaint is sorted out.
Most of the costs of the ACC review process are met by ACC. Individual people’s costs for going through the review process are not covered, although they may be awarded some money to cover some of their expenses.

The information here covers all areas of the ACC review process, and while it is thorough, you may also want to contact an appropriately qualified professional such as a lawyer or professional advocate for detailed advice about your specific case. Citizens Advice Bureau and Community Law Centres can be a good place to start.
The ACC process is also outlined on the ACC Website as follows: 

It is a good idea to take somebody with you to any mediation or conference, as it can be quite overwhelming and emotional.

As well as a support person, you can bring any advocate of your choosing.  

Dispute Resolution Services Limited

Dispute Resolution Services began life as a division of the New Zealand Government-owned Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), carrying out reviews of claims against the Corporation by accident compensation claimants. It was incorporated on 1 July 1999 after a brief deregulation of the accident insurance sector, allowing other insurance providers to compete for accident cover business.

At that time, the ACC Board decided it was no longer appropriate for the review service to be part of the ACC organisation, so Dispute Resolution Services was born as an independent, stand-alone entity offering ACC Reviews and other dispute resolution services to the wider public and private sector market.

DRSL was initially wholly owned by ACC, however on 1 July 2011 DRSL separated from ACC and became an independent Crown Owned Company.  DRSL is now listed on the Crown Entity Schedule, with the shareholding Ministers being the Ministers of Finance and ACC.

DRSL offers the following services:

Facilitation & Mediation

Facilitation and mediation are quick and easy alternatives to resolving disputes that might otherwise end up in court. Using a facilitation or mediation process to resolve a dispute is a good way to protect a relationship between disputing parties, that might otherwise be damaged, as they are inclusive and non-confrontational.

Both facilitation and mediation are processes that are easy to understand, quick, and extremely cost effective. Legal representation is not required and the dispute can be addressed as soon as all parties agree to a meeting


Facilitation aims to get disputing parties to fully understand each other's position, and therefore resolve the dispute.
A facilitation is managed by an impartial and professionally qualified facilitator. Facilitation begins with information gathering and uses initiatives such as file analysis, consultation, negotiation and problem-solving. The facilitator acts as an ‘interpreter’, to make sure there is good communication between the parties, and that everyone understands what is happening and why. Ultimately both parties should understand one another better, and all of the information and issues should be clear.

The facilitator may provide written recommendations for resolving the dispute or moving the parties forward, but does not make any binding decisions.

Facilitation is a flexible process—everyone involved in the dispute may meet with the facilitator or alternatively the facilitator may meet with the parties separately.

The process depends on the nature of the dispute and the wishes of the parties. Once it's finished, the facilitator writes a letter to everyone involved with details of the results.

The costs of facilitation—and who pays—are agreed between the parties before the process begins.


The aim of mediation is to get disputing parties to reach a mutually agreed conclusion.

Mediation can be used in a variety of situations, including relationship, employment, community and commercial disputes—in fact any circumstances when two or more parties are unable to resolve an issue by themselves.

The mediation process involves an impartial third person (a professionally qualified mediator) helping the parties in a dispute to reach an agreement through a constructive, problem-solving approach. The mediator doesn't make a decision on the dispute, but helps the parties to discuss the issues and develop a mutually acceptable result.

When is mediation a good idea?

Mediation is appropriate when:

  • both parties are prepared to enter the process voluntarily and with a desire to resolve their dispute
  • the parties have an ongoing relationship and are willing to focus on the present and the future, rather than the past

Mediation is a flexible and informal process—there are some basic 'rules', but generally the meeting and how it goes is up to the parties involved. Anything that takes place is confidential, which means it cannot be referred to in any subsequent court proceedings.

Mediation generally involves two agreements:

  • one at the beginning, when everyone signs an 'agreement to mediate' that sets out their rights and responsibilities
  • one at the end, if agreement has been reached. The parties also receive written notification that the mediation is complete.
Parties can withdraw at any time if they wish and if they can't reach agreement they can take further action, such as taking an ACC dispute to review.

The costs of mediation—and who pays—are agreed between the parties before the process begins.

Disability related disputes

About Human Rights Commission - Auckland

Services Description The Commission also has the ability to mediate disputes relating to lawful discrimination on the groups of sex (including pregnancy) and sexual harassment, marital status, religious belief, ethnical belief, colour, race and racial harassment, ethnic or national origins, disability, age, political opinion, employment status and sexual orientation in the areas of government or public sector activities, employment, education, access to public places, the provision of goods and services, housing and accommodation, partnerships, qualified bodies, organisations of employees and employers, vocational training and trade and professional associations.


The Commissioner may call a mediation conference at any stage. Mediation is often a very effective way of resolving complaints, and provides an opportunity for the parties to agree to a fair outcome with minimum delay and cost.

The parties meet across the table, with or without support persons, to discuss their concerns. Although the parties may have a lawyer present, this is not necessary. An impartial mediator assists the parties to define the issues in dispute, explore options for resolution of the complaint, and find their own solutions to the dispute. All statements made during mediation are confidential, and if a deed of settlement is signed it is a full and final settlement of the issue.

If a complaint is not resolved by mediation, the Commissioner will decide what (if any) further action to take.

Human rights comm

 The case studies of 21 complaints about discrimination illustrate how the Human Rights Commission resolves the disputes it receives. Each year the Commission receives around 6000 new human rights enquiries and complaints, of which about 1300 raise issues of unlawful discrimination which the Commission seeks to resolve through its free and confidential disputes resolution service.

Breakdowns in communication often played a large part in complaints, and mediation provided a way of parties being able to share their points of view in a safe, impartial environment.   “People often come to the Commission asking us to investigate,” says Chief Mediator Cara Takitimu. “We find mediation is better suited to dealing with complaints of alleged discrimination which can be sensitive and more complex that they first appear. It’s also easily adapted to meet the various needs of the parties involved.”

Outcomes depend on the nature of the complaint, but range from a pay increase and back pay to apologies and a positive work reference.

Making the complaints process accessible has been a key priority for the Commission. Videoconferencing, for example, is being used more frequently for parties who live in different areas, even overseas.  Complaint forms are available in a number of languages, and interpreters for 43 languages are also available through Language Line, a service run by the Office of Ethnic Affairs. The Commission is also looking to release a New Zealand Sign Language complaint form, where complainants can sign their complaints via internet video, later this year. Te Rito will be published as a Word and HTML document to ensure accessibility.