This week is a busy week in family law at OFRM as we have a Family Court Registrar in town conducting conciliation conferences. This reminded me it might be useful to talk here about what is a conciliation conference.
The conciliation conference is compulsory court conducted mediation in family law property matters. It involves the parties and their lawyers meeting with a registrar of the court to try and resolve the matter. The court registrar is an experienced family lawyer now employed by the court to do various tasks in the court including these conciliation conferences.
The conferences have a really good rate of resolution, no doubt in part because they are essentially confidential. This means that what the parties say during the conference can't become evidence in subsequent court hearings. This gives parties the confidence to openly consider and make offers to settle the matter.
The conference also occurs at a stage in the proceedings (about half way through) when the history and valuations are clearer but before the parties have had to completely prepare their matter for hearing.
Conciliation conferences are usually exhausting and intense experiences — people's lives and histories pondered and then offers back and forth. However, that is much less stressful than what happens when your matter goes to a final hearing in court.
The best bit about conciliation conferences, the Registrar has the power to make the orders finalizing your matter on the spot so you can walk away with your matter finalised - many a client walks straight out the door to a celebration!