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About conciliation

Conciliation is a form of alternative dispute resolution, similar to mediation. It is the fastest, cheapest and easiest method to resolving privacy complaints. If a complaint can’t be resolved through conciliation, the next step is to have the matter referred to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). A VCAT hearing can be stressful and expensive for both parties.

Conciliation processes can look quite different in different contexts, but they usually involve an independent person with expert knowledge (the conciliator) helping the parties to identify and agree on a fair resolution of their dispute.

The Conciliator does not decide the outcome of your dispute. However, as experts in the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (PDP Act), our conciliators  can help the parties to clarify the issues in dispute, gain a better understanding of the relative strength of their claims, and agree on a reasonable outcome.

Conciliation is voluntary and facilitated by one of our staff members acting as the Conciliator. We will decide on the best approach to conciliation in each case:

  • Indirect – where negotiation occurs through the Conciliator (also referred to as ‘shuttle negotiation’). This is the most common form of conciliation conducted.
  • Direct – the two parties meet (either in person or by telephone) together with the Conciliator to try and resolve the complaint.

Conciliation is also confidential — we expect the parties not to use or disclose information obtained in the course of a conciliation for purposes outside of that conciliation. Additionally, section 70 of the PDP Act provides that any evidence of things said or done in conciliation is not admissible before VCAT or in other legal proceedings related to the subject matter of the complaint, unless you and the organisation agree. You can find out more about conciliation on the FAQ page.

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