Conciliation is an informal meeting where parties attempt to settle the dispute before the hearing can take place.
The information on this page applies only to cases in NCAT's Consumer and Commercial Division.
What is conciliation?
Conciliation is an alternative dispute resolution process where the people in dispute talk about their issues in an informal, private meeting with the aim of reaching an agreement.
NCAT’s conciliation process is closely linked to the hearing process, rather than as a separate step of dispute resolution. Parties are asked to attempt conciliation before the hearing can take place.
Advantages of conciliation
Conciliation allows you to have control over the outcome of your dispute and is more likely to result in an agreement you both find acceptable.
Conciliation gives you and the other party an opportunity to:
- Tell your side of the story in a free and open discussion.
- Listen and get a better understanding of the other party’s issues.
- Resolve the dispute mutually and quickly on the day.
- Find a solution that makes sense to both of you.
How to prepare for conciliation
Read the Ten top tips for Conciliation to help you prepare for and get the most from the conciliation process.
What to expect during conciliation
The Tribunal Member will ask all parties to attempt to reach an agreement through conciliation. You will be directed to a conciliation room or area outside the hearing room.
Conciliation gives you and the other party an opportunity to meet each other, discuss your issues and reach a compromise that meets both your needs.
During the conciliation process, you are encouraged to:
- Try to understand and respect each other’s different points of view.
- Be prepared to negotiate.
- Make a list of possible solutions.
- Only agree to what you think is fair.
Conciliators may be available to assist by providing options and solutions to help resolve the dispute.
NCAT provides Conciliators at major hearing venues to assist parties during their conciliation discussions. In regional areas, the Tribunal Member may act as both Conciliator and Member with the consent of the parties.
Conciliators look after a number of parties at the same time. They may not be able to stay in the room during your entire conciliation session.
What is the Conciliator's role?
The Conciliator’s role in assisting parties come to an agreement is to:
- facilitate open and honest discussions between the people in dispute
- help to identify the issues in dispute
- assist both parties to come up with options and possible solutions
- help write down any agreement reached.
Conciliators do not provide legal advice or make decisions. They will however check that the parties understand the agreement and that it is made with their consent.
A Conciliator is not an advisor and will not make decisions for you