In defence of settlement: resolving discrimination complaints by agreement

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Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has become an entrenched feature of Australia's anti-discrimination law, so much so that the vast majority of discrimination complaints are settled. There are many reasons to be against settlement but with reference to a study of the outcomes negotiated in discrimination complaints settled in Queensland, this article shows that there are valid reasons to be in favour of settlement, particularly when it results in systemic remedies which would not be obtained otherwise. The article concludes by presenting modifications to the existing complaint resolution system which would retain ADR while ensuring that the wider, systemic aspects of a discrimination claim are also addressed by introducing an institution with the power to enforce the law.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-220
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Discrimination and the Law
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • ADR
  • Australia
  • Conciliation
  • Enforcement
  • Remedy
  • Systemic

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