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Margaret Halsmith

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Australia, Australia - WA
Mediation Profile

Margaret Halsmith is the Principal at Halsmith Dispute Resolution, her specialist dispute resolution practice. Widely acknowledged as one of Australia’s foremost practitioners, Margaret has been in full-time practice since 1996. She is also influential in both the Australasian and international Dispute Resolution communities. 

Margaret is an enthusiastic provider of best practice Mediation, including Family Dispute Resolution (FDR), for two or more participants and Dispute Resolution Coaching for individuals as well as Professional Development for practitioners and Consultancy for a broad range of clients. 

Margaret came to Dispute Resolution after a career in psychology and education, including extensive experience with organisations and families and in the juvenile and adult justice systems. Among her areas of particular interest are: maximizing the effectiveness of Dispute Resolution; standards of Dispute Resolution practice; Dispute Resolution when there is entrenched conflict; the role of apology in Dispute Resolution and participants’ overall wellbeing, during and after Dispute Resolution.

Margaret conscientiously uses her experience and the insights she has gained to continually refine and to improve her practice. Margaret takes part in regular clinical supervision. 

In addition to her Dispute Resolution practice, Margaret holds positions in a number of organisations which directly influence dispute resolution in Western Australia, Australia and internationally.

• Margaret is the Australasian Chair of Resolution Institute, an Australasian not-for-profit membership organisation created by the integration of LEADR and IAMA (the Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators Australia). Together LEADR and IAMA have a 40 year history of serving the community by promoting and facilitating the use of dispute resolution processes including mediation. She has held the position since 2007. She is also an active member of the WA Chapter of Resolution Institute. 

• Margaret is a Vice Chair of the IMI Independent Standards Commission, which creates and oversees international mediator competency standards, chairing the Standards Design and Implementation Committee which is responsible for IMI best practice regarding QAPs. 

• Margaret is a member of NADRAC (National Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisory Council) which advises the Federal Attorney General and federal courts and tribunals with respect to ADR issues with a view to achieving and maintaining a high quality, accessible, integrated federal ADR system.

• Margaret is the Deputy Convenor of WADRA (Western Australian Dispute Resolution Association) 

• For many years Margaret was an Associate Member of The Law Society of WA

• Margaret, as Director of Halsmith Dispute Resolution, has been a member of Family and Relationship Services Australia (FRSA) since its inception

• Margaret is a member of the Australian Psychological Society Dispute Resolution and Psychology and Psychologists for Peace Interest Groups.

Margaret has been mediating full time since 1995 as a solo and co-mediatior of two party and multiparty disputes in practice areas above.

Margaret mediated for the Children's Court in a pilot project through the Youth Legal Service and in a pilot project for the Department for Child Protection. She held the inaugural part time position of Senior Mediator at Legal Aid WA from 2005 - 2007, with responsibility for excellence in ADR for a
panel of forty mediators. She held a similar role with the Aboriginal Mediation Service

Margaret is a member of a number of mediation panels including the Law Society of WA, the Office of the Franchising Mediation Advisor, the Small Business Development Corporation and the Aboriginal Mediation Service.

• Australian National Mediation Approval and Practice Standards operating under the National Mediator Accreditation System through the Mediator Standards Board
• Registered Family Dispute Resolution Provider no R1002758 under the Family Law Act 1975
• Resolution Institute [LEADR & IAMA] Advanced Panel mediator
• IMI [International Mediation Institute] accreditation

Margaret mediates in a facilitative style, according to the facilitative model. She designs an environment in which each participant listens generously to each other participant, thinks creatively about the agreed issues and speaks with moderation on each of the issues one issue at a time, before collectively considering wide ranging options then making wise decisions. Margaret’s focus is to assist participants to hear and be heard by each other in order to reach a satisfactory conclusion on each of the issues of concern to them, that is, to endeavour to reach an agreement, if an agreement is appropriate, following a respectful negotiation. Margaret’s background in psychology prior to the mid-1990s enables her to include transformative interventions in her repertoire. Each mediation commences with individual separate sessions attended by each participant, their advisors and their support people. Margaret makes a thorough assessment of each participant's present circumstances for suitability for mediation. Each mediation is designed after the completion of separate sessions. Margaret regards conflict as normal; as the manifestation of individual differences of perception which can become acute, particularly at times of change and in response to a sense of disempowerment. Her practice assumes there is a valid rationale underpinning each person's responses in a dispute. In summary, Margaret sees mediation as Participant A + Participant B + Participant C etc cooperating to address mutually agreed issues. This is often a seismic shift from a mindset of Party A v Party B. For Margaret, the aim of each mediation is for participants to leave saying "Although I didn't get exactly what I had initially thought I'd wanted, I can live with what I've agreed to; it was a fair process and when I look back in 12 or more months' time, I expect I will still be able to stand by my decisions," and for Margaret to walk away saying "I managed a fair, even handed, timely process to the best of my ability and with compassion and encouragement."

There are three streams to Margaret’s Practice: Dispute Resolution, Professional Development and Consultancy. Dispute Resolution Interpersonal and Relationships: Aged Care, Apology, Child Migrant, Child Protection, Defamation, Discrimination, Family, Family Business, Interpersonal, Institutional, Inheritance, Reparative, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Abuse, Wills Business and Commercial: Business to Business, Commercial Contracts, Employment, Family Business, Franchising, Interpersonal Succession, Tax, Tenancy, Insurance, Property, Sexual Harassment, Sport & Recreation, Workplace Family and Extended Family: Aged Care, Apology, Child Support Payment, Child Protection, Children’s Living Arrangements, Estate Planning, Family, Family Business, Family Dispute Resolution, Interpersonal, Inheritance, Parenting, Property, Reparative, Separation, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Abuse, Succession, Youth Community and Government: Aged Care, Apology, Education, Government, Neighborhood, Public Policy and Process, Sport & Recreation, Telecommunications, Victim Offender Professional Development Mediator coaching for accreditation and practice Mediator mentoring Advanced mediator training Consultancy By arrangement

Please contact Margaret by e-mail to discuss her fees: [email protected]

Resolution Institute (previously known as LEADR & IAMA)
Chair of Australasian Board

Member: Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisory Council
Council advises on ADR matters

WADRA [Western Australian Dispute Resolution Association] Inc
Deputy Convenor

International Mediation Institute
A Vice Chair Independent Standards Commission
Chair Standards Design and Implementation Committee.

Numerous other professional affiliations in an executive capacity

Karen Buck - [email protected]

Training and Education

Margaret was introduced to mediation at a Bond University course in the early 1990s. Since then she has undertaken generalist and specific training a number of times each year. In 2009, Margaret attended and contributed to the Office of the Mediation Adviser franchise mediation training, Legal Aid family law and Indigenous civil matters training.

Margaret's academic and theoretical education has been largely as a tertiary educator as described below at 'Teaching'.

Margaret introduced and taught Dispute Resolution to business law students at Edith Cowan University for ten years and periodically taught law students at the University of Western Australia until recently. She is a regular speaker on the conference circuit and at other universities, as well as a trainer of her customized programs and various national accredited mediation training programs.
Mediation publications

Margaret’s focus is primarily on practice. She also has an active interest in and regular input to academic discourse related to mediation and dispute resolution in general. Currently she is collaborating on a paper on Apology in Mediation with Professor Alfred Allan and Professor Robyn Carroll.

For approximately ten years, Margaret was a member of the editorial panel of the ‘ADR Bulletin' and was the author of the ADR chapter of the 2005 WA Law Handbook.


IMI Code of Professional Conduct
Resolution Institute Code of Ethics

Policy 1
AON Risk Services Australia

Policy 2
CGU Professional Risks

Policy 3
QBE Sunrise

all are current at 14.10.2015 for 2016

Margaret Halsmith
+61 08 9388 1272
+ 61 08 9388 1279
Director, Principal Mediator
Halsmith Dispute Resolution
PO Box 194
Western Australia