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​Free mediation helps neighbours cool it in summer​

Issued: 10 February 2017

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Tension between feuding neighbours can escalate as the temperature soars and the NSW Government’s free mediation service, Community Justice Centres (CJCs), is ready to help resolve conflict.

“Community Justice Centres traditionally see a spike in noise disputes between neighbours over summer, as people host backyard BBQs, use loud air conditioners, trim hedges and undertake renovations,” said Community Justice Centres’ Director Katrina Spyrides.

“Heat and noise can cause people to lose sleep and become irritable, so it’s important neighbours contact CJCs before tempers boil over.”

CJCs can organise free mediations in a safe and neutral environment at a time and location convenient for everyone involved.

“Professional mediators don’t take sides and they give people the opportunity to have their say and listen to the views of others,” said Ms Spyrides.

“It’s usually a much less stressful option than bickering over the fence, leaving angry notes in letter boxes or taking costly legal action.”

CJCs dealt with 4655 cases and conducted 1,330 mediations across NSW in 2015-16, with agreement reached in almost 80 per cent of sessions.

Around 500 cases involved noise disputes in 2015-16 – a 26 per cent increase on the previous year.

Noise is the third most common mediation issue, behind fences (826 cases) and trees (839). Cases involving privacy and trespass issues soared by 118 per cent in 2015-16 with 496 matters referred to CJCs.

Ms Spyrides said the best way to avoid conflict with neighbours is to be friendly from the outset.

“Simple steps can make a big difference – smile and say hello when you see your neighbours and let them know about upcoming events that could impact upon them, such as a birthday party,” said Ms Spyrides.

CJC mediators have been helping NSW residents come to an agreement quickly and peacefully since 1980. The service is also available for disputes with family members, work colleagues, businesses, consumers, clubs and associations.

For more information, visit: www.cjc.justice.nsw.gov.au or call 1800 990 777.​