About Waterhouse Mediation

Michael Waterhouse has unique depth of experience in the NSW public sector with 26 years experience as a lawyer, policy advisor and senior executive.

About Michael Waterhouse PSM

As General Counsel (including its predecessor role) for the NSW Education Department for 19 years, Michael built an incomparable experience in settling legal, commercial, industrial and policy disputes. This includes:

  • Settling a group action by members of the Aboriginal Stolen Generation in NSW, including providing individual apologies and settlement conferences to several hundred individuals
  • Leading the Education Department’s response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual abuse, implementing the Government’s principles for trauma informed approach to survivors of such abuse
  • Working personally with 100s of individuals who have experienced various forms of trauma and abuse in institutional settings
  • Settling complex industrial and award negotiations
  • Negotiating legislation through the NSW parliament.
  • Negotiating detailed policy agreements and MOUs between NSW government agencies, and non-government organisations, particularly in the human services field.
  • Negotiating difficult disputes about existing agreements between government and other parties.
Michael is an accredited mediator under the National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS). He also has an unrestricted practising certificate with the NSW Law Society


I have spent many years involved in settling complex disputes. Frequently this has involved difficult private and personal issues for individuals.

In my experience, to reach agreement about a dispute, the legal detail is often secondary to the need for parties to respectfully listen to each other. It’s not simply a question of the lawyers discussing the strengths and weaknesses of their case. While the legal aspects are important, and the legal rights and duties of each side need to be properly understood, just as important is respectful listening and engagement with the other side.

In my work in the NSW public sector, I led by example in introducing trauma-informed settlement processes following the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse, establishing a respectful ambience in which effective understanding can occur.

Bringing to bear many years of experience settling legal disputes, I can effectively set the climate to help parties on both sides of a dispute think afresh about potential pathways to resolution, involving both legal and non-legal factors.   

Recognising this work, Michael was awarded the Public Service Medal (PSM) in 2018 under the Australian Honours and Awards system “for outstanding public service to education through legal counsel roles in New South Wales.”

Michael is recognised for his empathetic character, his capacity to listen and understand the perspectives of others, and his practical approach to the search for solutions.

Qualifications and professional memberships:

  • BA Hons (majoring in Government) University of Sydney
  • Diploma of Law (Legal Practitioners’ Admissions Board)
  • Diploma Legal Practice (NSW College of Law)
  • Diploma of Business Administration (Australian Graduate School of Management)
  • Admitted as a Solicitor by the NSW Supreme Court
  • Holder of unrestricted practising certificate NSW Law Society
  • Accredited under the National Mediation Accredited Scheme 
  • Professional Member of the Resolution Insitute

Charities I support

Carbon Positive Australia


Give Well


Eryldene Foundation


Asylum Seeker Resource Centre


The World Literacy Foundation


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