Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Conciliation Definition:

A form of alternate dispute resolution (ADR) in which a neutral third-party hears both sides and then issues a non-binding suggested resolution.

Related Terms: Mediation

In International and Domestic Commercial Arbitration, the author writes:

"Conciliation is neither arbitration nor mediation.... (T)he parties choose an independent third party who hears both sides, either privately or together, and then prepares a compromise which the conciliator believes is a fair disposition of the matter. The conciliator's report or conclusions are then put to both sides, who may agree or disagree with it. It is not binding nor is it enforceable unless the parties adopt it."

Various statutes and agencies apply different meanings to the term conciliation such that in some cases, it is synonymous for, or stated to be a form of mediation. For example conciliation under the Public Service Labour Relations Act, at §172, merely mandates that the conciliator will "endeavour to assist the parties to the dispute in entering into or revising a collective agreement" and "submit a report to the ... as to its success or failure in assisting the parties to the dispute and as to its findings and recommendations."

Some jurists take the term to mean a form of shuttle mediation, as this extract from Commercial Dispute Resolution:

"Conciliation: the neutral ... conciliator performs shuttle diplomacy, talking to each party party separately, discussing animosities and identifying common ground."


  • Casey, J. B., International and Domestic Commercial Arbitration (Toronto: Carswell, 2007), page 1-10
  • Edmond, D., Commercial Dispute Resolution (Toronto: Canada Law Book, 1989), page 91.
  • Public Service Labour Relations Act, Statutes of Canada 2003, Chapter 22

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