Conciliation is usually considered to be a process in which the participants to a dispute, with the assistance of a third person (the conciliator), identify the issues in dispute, develop options, consider alternatives and endeavour to reach an agreement. The conciliator has an advisory role, but not a determinative one. The conciliator is often legally qualified or has experience with, or professional or technical qualifications in, the subject area of the dispute that they are conciliating. The conciliator may suggest and/or give expert advice on possible options for resolving the issues in dispute and may actively encourage the participants to reach an agreement. The conciliator will be responsible for managing the dispute resolution process, including setting the ground rules, managing any apparent power imbalances between the participants and ensuring the participants conduct themselves appropriately.
In conciliation processes the parties are often accompanied by expert advisers, including legal advisers.
You should be aware that the term 'conciliation', is sometimes used differently. For example it is sometimes used to refer to more informal discussions held between the parties to a dispute in an endeavour to avoid, resolve or manage the dispute (ie without the presence of a ‘conciliator’).