Compulsory conferences

What is a compulsory conference?

Compulsory conferences are a dispute resolution method used across a range of matters.

Some matters in QCAT will proceed to a compulsory conference prior to a hearing. This includes administrative, anti-discrimination, child safety, civil, disciplinary, education and limited guardianship matters.

Why are compulsory conferences used?

The aims of the compulsory conference are to:

  • identify and clarify the issues you and the other party don’t agree on
  • find a solution to the dispute without proceeding to a hearing
  • identify the questions to be decided by the tribunal
  • make orders and give directions to resolve the dispute
  • if the proceeding is not settled, to make orders and give directions about how the case will proceed so it can be resolved.

Be prepared

You need to bring every document, invoice, receipt, quotation or other piece of evidence that you are relying on and give them to the QCAT representative at the compulsory conference. Make sure that you are organised and have evidence to support the main points of your argument.

Attending in person

You will be contacted by QCAT either the day before or on the day of the compulsory conference and the process will be explained to you.

Ensure you arrive at least 15 minutes before the start time outlined in the Notice of compulsory conference.  You may choose to use any waiting time to talk to the other party to try and reach an agreement.

Find your name or case number on the electronic listing board or list displayed in the registry. Go to the room which has been set aside for your case.

You will be invited into the room once the person responsible for conducting the compulsory conference, is ready. The proceeding may be conducted by a member, adjudicator or the Principal Registrar.

The QCAT representative will introduce themself and ask the parties to introduce themselves. Generally compulsory conferences are held in private and the length of the conference will depend on the complexity of the matter.

The information and evidence presented at the compulsory conference cannot be used or referred to at the hearing. Compulsory conferences are not open to the public, unless directed otherwise by the QCAT representative presiding over the proceeding.

How to behave during the compulsory conference

Be clear and to the point. Do not interrupt the other party or the QCAT representative - you will have the opportunity to have your say.

What happens after the compulsory conference?

If the parties reach an agreement the QCAT representative will record the terms of the agreement in writing and make the orders necessary to give effect to the agreement. Each party will then sign the agreement and receive a copy.

A party may request that the agreement be made an order of the tribunal.

If the parties do not reach an agreement, the QCAT representative will manage the dispute by making directions or orders aimed at reducing the issues to be determined at the hearing.