Dispute resolution

Well-managed disputes can strengthen your corporation and improve member and community confidence. Unfortunately when disputes are handled poorly they can significantly affect a corporation, its members and everyday business.

Disputes in corporations can be between:

  • members
  • members and directors
  • directors
  • directors and senior management
  • the corporation and its creditors.

Resolving disputes about governance and internal operations

Every corporation is required to have in its rule book a rule setting out how it will resolve internal disputes. The CATSI Act doesn't prescribe what this rule should say, corporations need to decide what works best for them. To help corporations ORIC has provided example dispute resolution rules in our model rule books that corporations can adopt or change to suit their circumstances. You should check your corporation's rule book to see what it says about disputes.

Corporations may also consider if they need extra policies or procedures to support the steps in their rule book.

Template: Notice of dispute

In ORIC's example dispute resolution rule one of the suggested steps involves giving a dispute notice to the other parties. If this is a step you'd like to use we've provided some example templates you could customise to do this:

Assistance with disputes about governance or internal operations

ORIC’s dispute resolution team may be able to help corporations manage disputes about governance by providing:

  • an advisory opinion—a formal letter giving an opinion about the situation in dispute, an interpretation of how the CATSI Act or corporation's rule book
  • advice—by telephone, face-to-face or email to try to quickly fix issues that are not too complex
  • conferencing—facilitated informal meetings of parties involved in the dispute
  • ORIC staff—to attend corporation meetings as observers, to present information or provide advice about the operation of the CATSI Act or the corporation's rule book.

Help available to resolve disputes about native title

Corporations who are also registered native title bodies corporate (RNTBCs) and common law holders can ask the National Native Title Tribunal to provide assistance to resolve disputes about native title matters such as whether or not a person is a common law holder, or the corporation’s performance of its functions under the native title legislation (section 60AAA of the Native Title Act).

The NNTT explains how they can help you resolve a native title dispute in a fact sheet and infographic.

Related: Media release: Native title corporations benefit from agencies’ collaborative response to disputes

Resources and further information

For more information on dispute resolution see policy statement 22 or our fact sheet on dispute resolution.