Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Robert Olding has a longstanding interest in ADR for taxation and other disputes with government. He undertook a Master of Laws (LLM) in 2008 in the field of Litigation and Dispute Resolution, completed the requirements for national mediator accreditation in 2014 and regularly undertakes additional mediation training to refresh and extend his skills. Mediation skills are a key requirement for his position as a member of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).
An early advocate of ADR both within the ATO and publicly, Robert has a particular passion for the topic, but is also uniquely placed to understand the perspective of both taxpayers or others interacting with government (and their representatives) and government agencies.
ADR for tax and other disputes involving government may be more complex and nuanced than for commercial disputes. Simply reaching a “commercial” agreement may not be as readily available where public officials have statutory duties to fulfill. Issues such as equity between citizens in like circumstances, transparency in decision-making, the rule of law and power imbalances, to name a few, may intrude into disputes with revenue authorities or other government bodies.
Nevertheless, many disputes may be settled with goodwill and careful attention to the interests of the taxpayer or other party and the duties and concerns of officials.
With over thirty years taxation experience, including in relation to State and Territory duties and taxes, both as a partner in a major firm and as a high-level pubic sector executive, and more recently as a QCAT member, Robert understands the tax and government environment.
Robert Olding Services is able to bring this unique combination of experience and expertise to bear on a range of disputes. Services include:
- Mediation of taxation and other disputes with government bodies, as well as commercial disputes
- Facilitation of settlement discussions (less formality than mediation)
- Neutral evaluations (only for indirect tax issues, in view of Robert’s acknowledged leading technical expertise)
- Advice regarding dispute resolution processes.
For mediations, conciliations and neutral evaluations, usual practice is for fees to be borne equally by the parties. Fees are by negotiation, taking into account the amount in dispute.
Relatively small amounts in dispute may nevertheless be of grave concern to the parties involved. Appropriate fee arrangements may be negotiated where the usual commercial fees would be a barrier to undertaking mediation. Non-profit bodies are invited to contact Robert regarding nominal fee/pro bono arrangements.