Conciliation conferences are a tool frequently used by the Land and Environment Court – it’s important to know what you should expect from the process.
What is the point of a conciliation conference?
Conciliation conferences involve the use of an impartial conciliator (often a commissioner) to help the parties:
- determine the issues in dispute;
- come up with options and alternatives to resolve the issues; and
- attempt to reach an agreement.
When will the Land and Environment Court require attendance at a conciliation conference?
The Land and Environment Court regularly makes orders for parties to attend conciliation conferences in matters that involve:
- residential development appeals;
- environmental planning and protection appeals;
- tree disputes;
- local government appeals;
- strata scheme development proceedings;
- valuation and compensation claims; and
- Aboriginal land claim cases.
What is the role of the conciliator?
During a conciliation conference, the conciliator may provide advice to the parties and make suggestions in terms of settlement, but does not play a determinative role. Ultimately, it is up to the parties as to whether they reach an agreement during the conciliation conference.
What happens following a conciliation conference?
If the parties are able to reach an agreement, a written agreement will be prepared and the court proceedings will be discontinued.
If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the matter will go to a hearing (either on the same day, or at a later date).