Conciliation conferences

A conciliation conference is where you and the respondent meet to talk about the complaint and ways to resolve the issue, with the assistance of one of our Conciliation Officers.

You and the respondent(s) can meet directly or through your representatives if the Conciliation Officer allows this. ​​

What are the aims of a conciliation conference?

The aims of a conciliation conference are:

  • to allow both sides to discuss the alleged discrimination and the issues around it
  •  to attempt to resolve the complaint
  •  to educate both sides about their rights and responsibilities under anti-discrimination law
  •  to raise awareness so that respondents know how to prevent discrimination in the future.

Who attends a conciliation conference? ​

You and the respondent(s) will attend the conciliation conference and can ask permission to bring along a support person such as a friend or work colleague. This should be discussed with the Conciliation Officer.

It is in the interest of both sides to attend the conciliation conference in order to sort out the matter as quickly and cheaply as possible, instead of having to go to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The Conciliation Officer can tell people that they must attend a conciliation conference.

If complainants or respondents refuse to attend, the person who refuses to attend can be fined by the courts.

Can I bring a lawyer to the conciliation conference? 

You must get permission from the Conciliation Officer if you want to have a lawyer present at a conciliation conference. So that you can be prepared, it is best to discuss this with the Conciliation Officer as soon as possible.

If you aren’t allowed to bring a lawyer, you should get the advice you need before you attend the conciliation conference so that you are ready to discuss a solution on the day of the conference.

You can negotiate through your lawyer outside the conference itself, but ultimately the Conciliation Officer will decide if lawyers can attend the conference or not.

What is the Conciliation Officer’s role at the conciliation conference? ​

The Conciliation Officer’s role is to: ​

  • help everyone remain calm and polite
  • be fair to both parties – the Conciliation Officer is not allowed to take sides
  • ensure that each side can put forward their point of view without being interrupted
  • make sure the conference deals with the main issues and not irrelevant matters
  • ·assist the complainant and respondent(s) to resolve the complaint in a way that is satisfactory for everyone.

Conciliation Officers may meet separately with either side at any time during the conference. Both you and the respondent have the right to ask the Conciliation Officer for a break at any time to help you gather your thoughts and consider your position. ​

Last updated:

29 Mar 2022

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We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the ongoing connection Aboriginal people have to this land and recognise Aboriginal people as the original custodians of this land.

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