KDK Family Law

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Office: 220 Stirling Highway, Claremont WA 6010

Postal: PO Box 897, Claremont WA 6910

Phone: 08 6141 3227

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1. What is a Conciliation Conference?

A Conciliation Conference is a Court ordered event, typically that is set down after the first return date once one party has commenced proceedings for property settlement against the other.

The Conciliation Conference is an important date as it is in many cases the best opportunity to settle the matter early before each party is entrenched in many months or years of litigation and thus saving the stress, time and money expended in the event the case was to move forward.

2. Who conducts a conciliation conference?

A Conciliation Conference is typically conducted by a Registrar of the Family Court of Western Australia, although sometimes a Magistrate may conduct a conference, but in the capacity of a Registrar.

The Judicial Officer’s role at the Conference is not to pass judgment on either party as to the merits of their case (in fact the Judicial Officer who conducts the Conference is in fact precluded from hearing the case moving forward, as concessions are invariably made and they are on a without prejudice basis).

3. What you must know before a conciliation conference in WA?

It is important to know that everything said and done in the Conference cannot be brought up later and the genesis of this is to ensure that each party makes a genuine attempt to settle the case and make concessions to resolve the dispute.

Prior to the Conference, parties are to typically ordered to file what are known as Conciliation Conference Particulars, which can be downloaded from the Family Court website via a link here – https://www.familycourt.wa.gov.au/.

The Conciliation Conference Particulars are in a sense an executive summary of your case.  They are not an Affidavit and do not need to be sworn by a lawyer.

It is important in the Conference Particulars to make it clear what your case is, what you are seeking in terms a proposal and a clear and concise schedule of assets.

The importance of this is to make sure that the other party is aware of what your case is as to the Registrar hearing the matter.

Typically, a Conciliation Conference will be conducted over about 45 minutes to an hour, although sometimes an extended Conference may be granted to you.  These Conferences tend to last for 3 to 4 hours.

As a rule, you should expect to get a Conciliation Conference listed about 3 to 4 months after your first return date, which will provide you with ample opportunity to resolve any outstanding issues as to disclosure and may provide the Respondent in the case an opportunity to file their Form 1A, Form 13 and Affidavit in response to your Application (if these documents have not been filed already).

4. What happens if I cannot reach a settlement in a conciliation conference?

In the event the matter does not settle, the Registrar hearing the Conference will list the matter for what is known as a Readiness Hearing, which is the next stage in the proceedings, but at current predictions given the delays litigants are experiencing in the Family Court will probably not be for 12 to 18 months.  Hence, the comment earlier that the Conference is a very good opportunity to settle the case without having to experience the issue of delays, stress and costs of ongoing litigation.

If you have a Conciliation Conference upcoming, or have any queries in relation to a family law issue, please do not hesitate to contact one of our team members to arrange an appointment.