Participation and Confidentiality

Participation in consultation, negotiation, facilitation, and mediation meetings is voluntary. The exception is for pre-hearing meetings, where participation is required under section 99(8). Other than this exception, parties can choose to not get involved, or to leave at any time. Often, the participants are advised to treat the discussions 'without prejudice'. This means that they can speak freely and frankly so that the whole conflict can be aired. Accusations and off-the-wall suggestions may emerge, but should not influence any statutory decision. At the outset, the chairperson of the meeting should clarify what will be recorded in the minutes of the meeting. Particularly once a dispute reaches mediation, this exchange of views should be treated as confidential and non-binding. Parts of an agreement that are not to be included in the public decision may also be treated confidentially.