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Conciliation is an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process whereby a third party (the conciliator) is appointed as a neutral and unbiased person to help parties involved in a dispute to achieve a settlement by steering negotiations towards an amicable conclusion.
If you are involved in a commercial dispute and feel that working with a conciliator could help bring it to a conclusion acceptable to both sides, contact us today on 0345 872 6666 for information about our services, or complete our online enquiry form and we will call you back.
Role of the Conciliator
Conciliation is an alternative dispute resolution similar to mediation, but with key differences. The main difference between conciliation and mediation sits with the role of the conciliator. A mediator will try and find common ground between parties without themselves assuming responsibility for developing or making any proposals for settlement, or they will take a much more active and direct role in offering their opinion and making proposals for settlement
A conciliator will weigh up each party's position, offer their opinion as to the relative merits and make proposals regarding the terms of settlement. It is then for the parties to decide whether or not they accept the conciliator's proposals because the conciliator will not impose any of their suggestions upon the parties.
The Pros and Cons of Conciliation
As with most things, conciliation has both pros and cons:
- Conciliation is most often used as a preventative method of resolving disputes, whereas the assistance of a mediator or arbitrator is often sought once a dispute is ongoing and it appears as though it may end up in court. A conciliator is typically appointed as soon as a dispute looks like it may occur
- Conciliation is a preventative measure to allow the parties to resolve their differences with the benefit of maintaining business relationships
- It can bring matters to a conclusion much sooner than if court proceedings are used
- The conciliation process is carried out confidentially and without prejudice so that, if settlement is not achieved, the reasons for this are kept between the parties involved
- Conciliation is useful when the parties want the input and direction from a third party, as opposed to the more passive steering approach offered by mediation
- The cost of instructing a conciliator, especially as a preventative step as detailed above - and if settlement can be reached - can significantly reduce the time and costs that parties spend on litigation
The main downside to conciliation is that it relies on the parties accepting the authority of the conciliator and wanting to achieve a resolution. If either of the parties involved do not enter the process with the right attitude, then it may prove a waste of time and money.
Why Choose JMW?
Our commercial litigation team can provide the expert guidance you need to ensure you choose the form of ADR best suited to achieving the outcome you are after. We are highly experienced in helping businesses with ADR, in whatever form it takes.
At JMW we encourage our clients to give real consideration to exploring ADR and will offer our suggestions as to which method is appropriate for the circumstances of your dispute. While conciliation is not appropriate for every dispute, it is a tried and tested method of bringing matters to an amicable conclusion, and serious thought should be given to it.
If you wish to decide on conciliation as the form of ADR best suited to you, we will provide the advice and support you need to make sure you are in the best possible position to secure your desired outcome.
Partner and Head of Department
Commercial Litigation/Corporate Recovery and Insolvency