Conciliation is an alternative out-of-court dispute resolution instrument.

Like mediation, conciliation is a voluntary, flexible, confidential, and interest based process. The parties seek to reach an amicable dispute settlement with the assistance of the conciliator, who acts as a neutral third party.

The main difference between conciliation and mediation proceedings is that, at some point during the conciliation, the conciliator will be asked by the parties to provide them with a non-binding settlement proposal. A mediator, by contrast, will in most cases and as a matter of principle, refrain from making such a proposal.

Conciliation is a voluntary proceeding, where the parties involved are free to agree and attempt to resolve their dispute by conciliation. The process is flexible, allowing parties to define the time, structure and content of the conciliation proceedings. These proceedings are rarely public. They are interest-based, as the conciliator will when proposing a settlement, not only take into account the parties’ legal positions, but also their; commercial, financial and / or personal interests.Like in mediation proceedings, the ultimate decision to agree on the settlement remains with the parties.

Kinds of Conciliation

  1. Voluntary Conciliation- In this method parties can voluntarily participate in the process of conciliation for resolving their dispute.
  2. Compulsory Conciliation- If parties do not want to take the opportunity of voluntary conciliation then they can go for compulsory conciliation. In this method, if the parties do not want to meet the other party to resolve the dispute then the process is said to be compulsory. This method is commonly used in labour cases.


Role of the conciliator

The role, responsibilities, and involvement of the conciliator is what makes this process different from mediation.

By definition, a conciliator is someone who acts as a neutral third-party between two disputing groups in the hopes of resolving the conflict. During the conciliation process, the conciliator will make sure the issue is identified, ideate some options for solutions, consider any and all alternatives, and hopefully reach a settlement.

While the conciliator can recommend solutions they see fit, the disputing parties are in no way legally obligated to abide by the conciliator’s opinion. The only people that can actually settle the dispute are the conflicting parties. The conciliator is simply there to guide the conversation and make suggestions.The key to being an effective conciliator is remaining neutral. The conciliator does not act on behalf of either party, and must remain impartial throughout the entire process.


Conciliation process

Conciliation can vary in terms of formality. Some parties can choose for the process to be casual and just involve a conversation, while others might want more structure from the conciliator.

Here is the typical process for a conciliation meeting.

The first step in conciliation is the meeting, which is where the two disputing parties meet with the conciliator.

Next, each party in the dispute will make a statement in which they express their side of the story, any details of the issue, and some preferred outcomes or objectives.

Taking the statements from each party into account, the conciliator will suggest a solution. As stated above, neither party is required to accept this offered solution as the final settlement.

If they like the offered solution, then great! If not, the conversation will continue until both parties have reached an agreement.


  1. The conciliation procedure is of private nature. The documents, evidences or any other information which are used during the process are Confidential.
  2. One of the most important advantages is that they are Informal process and contains Simple procedures which can be easily followed by the general people.
  3. The process depends upon the circumstances of the case. In these processes the need of the parties comes first like quick settlement of their cases so there is no chance for delay.
  4. The selection of the conciliators depends upon the parties. The parties can choose conciliator on the basis of their availability, experience in particular field, previous track records of the cases, knowledge in subject area.
  5. The conciliation is cheap as compared to litigation. They are cost effective and most opted process for resolving disputes. It purely depends upon the nature of the dispute but is widely acceptable.


  1. Conciliator is not a legally qualified person for resolving disputes. His decision is not binding upon the parties.
  2. As the procedure of conciliation is informal and simple there is high possibility of delivering injustice.
  3. Miscommunication of information: The role of the conciliator to settle up the case by giving information of one party to another and vice versa. The process of sending and receiving information sometimes leads to mixed and incorrect information. So, by these processes one can easily interpret the information given.


The procedures and techniques discussed above are the most commonly used methods of ADR. However, there are countless various ADR methods, many of which modify or combine the above methods. With each type of ADR, the objective is to resolve the dispute by method of round table discussion . ADR is the most effective process which lessens the burden of courts. ADR promotes harmonious relationship among parties. The settlement of disputes through ADRs is so effective and globally accepted that courts have recognized some of them like mediation more often. This avoids procedure of litigation and the award for fair and impartial settlement of doubtful issues of an individual on legal and ethical basis which is based upon ground reality.

This is what distinguishes ADR methods from general litigation. There can be only one winning party after a court trial, while all parties can be treated as winner after conciliation, mediation or negotiation, as there is no conflict between them and they go through the settlement procedure.

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