Frequently asked questions about the conciliation process.
The information on this page applies only to cases in NCAT's Consumer and Commercial Division.
Do I have to attempt conciliation?
Yes. Although conciliation is a voluntary process, NCAT is required by law to encourage parties to reach agreement through a resolution process, such as conciliation, before the hearing can take place.
Who is involved in the conciliation?
Generally, only the people involved in the dispute attend the conciliation. An agent, advocate or interpreter may also be present. At our larger hearing venues a Conciliator may be available to help with your conciliation discussions.
Can my support person be with me during the conciliation?
You will need to ask the other person involved in the dispute for their permission for your support person to be present during the conciliation.
What if I feel threatened by the other person?
If you feel threatened by the other party at any time during the conciliation session, please let the Conciliator, Tribunal Member or security officer know immediately.
Why can’t the Conciliator stay during the entire conciliation process?
Where a Conciliator is available, their role is to assist a number of conciliating parties at the same time. It is not possible for them to spend all their time in one conciliation session.
What if I'm not happy with the conciliation agreement?
If you are not happy with the conciliated agreement, you must let the Tribunal Member know before it is made into a binding Tribunal order. When you return to the hearing room, tell the Tribunal Member that you want to reconsider agreeing to a settlement and that you want the matter to proceed to hearing.
Can a consent order be changed afterwards?
No. Once a conciliated agreement is confirmed, it becomes a binding Tribunal order. Before making the order, the Tribunal Member will ask you to confirm you freely entered into the agreement and understand the effects of the terms of the agreement.
What happens if we don’t reach an agreement?
If conciliation is unsuccessful, or if only one party appears, the matter will either be heard on the day, if time permits, or be listed for another day. Orders may be made even if only one party appears (these are known as ‘ex parte orders’).
Sometimes if the parties need to obtain further evidence or if more time is needed to hear the dispute, the hearing may be adjourned to a formal hearing at a later date.