In this method of alternate dispute resolution, an independent person helps resolve the issue. Method of conciliation is also covered by the “Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996”. Conciliation is a less rigid type of arbitration. Conciliation can be resorted to even in the absence of any pre-signed agreement between the parties. Either of the parties can request the other for appointment of a conciliator. The job could be handled by one or more conciliators; however they must act in consensus.
The party which commences the process of conciliation needs to inform the other party and invite them. Such written notice must mention the subject matter of the dispute. The other party must accept the proposal in written, conciliation cannot begin unless the other party also consents. Once a conciliator has been appointed, he/she requests both the parties to submit summary written statements which describe the nature of the dispute and particular points of contention, if any. A copy of each party’s statement must be sent to the other party as well. It is within the conciliator’s discretion to ask the parties for submission of further written statements which demonstrate the facts of their case. Further details and documents may be asked to be furnished as the conciliator deems fit for a prompt process of conciliation. The parties may be asked to correspond in writing or orally. The parties may be requested by the conciliator to meet during the process. Suggestions from the parties themselves for settling the dispute are also welcome.
Method of conciliation is guided by rules of natural justice and not any specific rules of procedure. The conciliator must remain objective; just and fair in his judgment and keep in mind the obligations and rights of the parties. The usage of the trade and the circumstances leading to the dispute must be referred to while conciliating. It is important to know about previous practice between the two parties. The conciliator must be independent and impartial in his actions. The conciliator can propose a settlement at any stage of the proceedings. If it is observed that a settlement might be possible between the parties, the conciliator must seize the opportunity and come up with the settlement terms and inform both the parties about the same for their feedback. If both the parties accept the terms of settlement and the document framed by the conciliator receives signatures from both sides, the decision so reached shall be final and binding on both parties.