Attend a compulsory conference

If you have lodged a claim, or are responding to a claim made against you, you may have to go to a compulsory conference arranged by NTCAT.

If you have been called to a compulsory conference you must attend. The aim of the conference is to:

  • identify and clarify the issues of the dispute
  • explore the possibility of settlement before the matter is heard.

Matters heard at the compulsory conference

Usually parties involved in more complicated matters will be asked to attend a compulsory conference.

Matters that are usually straight-forward or urgent such as tenancy terminations, unpaid rents and debt recovery claims, hardship applications and urgent repair applications in tenancy cases won't be called to a compulsory conference.

What to expect at your conference

Each compulsory conference is allocated two hours to work out each party's differences. Although sometimes these can be continued at a later date if the matter can't be resolved in that time frame.

The conference is overseen by members of NTCAT. These members will have no further involvement in your matter if you choose to still have it heard by the tribunal.

There are two stages to the conference.

Stage 1

The NTCAT member will:

  • make directions about future steps to be taken if the matter is not resolved
  • fix a hearing date
  • set a timetable for both parties to provide any evidence or submissions relating to their case.

Stage 2

The NTCAT member will:

  • take the parties through a negotiation process to try and fix their disagreements
  • help both parties work through which issues have legal importance
  • try to find a way to resolve the matter before it reaches the tribunal.

Each party will be given a chance to make a short statement about their views regarding the dispute.

If you are party to a dispute you will be given a chance to discuss the main issues and consider possible solutions.

If you are not properly prepared, or do not participate in good faith with the conference, you could have to pay the other party's costs for the meeting.

Property managers, for example, can attend compulsory conferences on behalf of their landlord but should ensure they have full authority to make decisions on behalf of their client.

What to bring to your conference

If you have to attend a compulsory conference you must bring all documents you consider important to your case. For - eg: If it is a tenancy matter you should bring documents such as the tenancy agreement, condition report, quotes and invoices.

After your conference

If you and the other party have reached a settlement the proceeding will go no further. Depending on what is agreed, NTCAT can make consent orders giving effect to the settlement.

If there is no settlement the directions made at the first stage of the compulsory conference will take effect and the matter will appear before the tribunal.

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Last updated: 27 June 2017