A conciliation conference is a form of court-ordered mediation.
At the conference, a court-appointed and impartial convenor brings the family and child protection workers together, with their lawyers, to try to reach an agreement about what is in the best interests of the child or children in the family.
The convenor helps to guide the discussion and ensure that participants speak for themselves, listen to each other and remain child-focused.
Who can attend
Conciliation conferences are attended by:
- a convenor who is employed by the Children's Court to conduct the conference
- family members
- Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) child protection staff
- legal representatives.
Children above 12 years old and support people can join, if the convenor decides that is suitable.
On the day
At the meeting, the convenor will help everyone to work together and look at what can be done for the best interests and safety of the child. It is usually effective to look at the strengths that the family already has.
After the conciliation conference
If the parties agree about what should happen, the case goes to court where the judge/magistrate will, if appropriate, make orders in line with the agreement reached.
If the parties were not able to reach an agreement in the conference, the case goes to court and the magistrate will determine the future course of the case.
Attending a conciliation conference?
If you have questions, you should contact your lawyer.