What is a section 150 conference?
During a future act inquiry, the President may direct the parties to attend a case management conference, known as a ‘section 150 conference’.
The Tribunal can convene section 150 Conferences to help resolve any matter relevant to the inquiry, and they are often used to provide further assistance to the parties, once a future act determination application has been lodged.
Section 150 conferences are a final opportunity for parties to explore avenues for agreement before a determination is made.
How do I request a section 150 conference?
Any party to a future act inquiry may ask the President to decide whether a section 150 conference should be held. Requests should be made to the Member conducting the inquiry via the staff member assisting the Member. You can make your request by mail or by email
How will a section 150 conference assist?
Section 150 conferences can be used as a forum for further negotiation with assistance from the Tribunal. Through the conferences, parties can gain a better understanding of the issues and options for agreement, which may result in a more satisfactory outcome than a determination. Section 150 conferences can also assist the parties to identify and narrow the issues in dispute, which can help to reduce the costs of participating in the inquiry.
What to expect in a section 150 conference
Section 150 conferences may be conducted by a Tribunal Member or a staff member, who acts as the convenor. If the section 150 conference is conducted by a Tribunal Member, that Member may not participate in the inquiry unless the parties otherwise agree. The convenor oversees a series of conferences, assisted by a staff member. Parties may participate in the conferences on their own behalf or through a representative. Participants may attend the conferences in person or by telephone.
Typically, the convenor will invite the parties to outline the background of the negotiations and identify issues that need to be resolved. The convenor will then facilitate discussion of the issues to assist parties to reach agreement. If any issues cannot be resolved during the conference, the convenor will identify the action items or outcomes on which the parties have agreed and adjourn the section 150 conference to a later date. If a full agreement cannot be reached, the convenor will encourage the parties to identify any issues they can agree on, to narrow the scope of the inquiry.
Section 150 conferences are confidential to the extent allowed by the law. Evidence may not be given during the inquiry about any words spoken or acts done at the conference unless the parties otherwise agree.