Services Available in the Supreme Court Family Division
MEDIATION >> is a voluntary process in which parties try to resolve their differences with the help of a mediator.
Conciliation - this page
ASSESSMENTS >> provide the Court with information and/or recommendations on how the needs of the child may best be met.
PARENT INFORMATION >> This program assists parents to support their children during the Court process.
Conciliation is different from mediation
In conciliation, there is no negotiation of the issues. Instead, the court officer/Conciliator helps you to sort out what to do about your situation and what the next steps might be. Mediation is a voluntary process; each party must agree to participate, to try to reach a resolution of the issues. READ ABOUT MEDIATION >>
Conciliation is intended to .....
~ identify the issues involved ~ ensure proper disclosure by the parties concerning those issues ~ reduce conflict and help the parties determine whether a satisfactory and fair resolution can be reached outside of court ~ consider appropriate options to resolving the issues identified ~ recommend other steps, including a hearing before a Judge
The court officer/conciliator does not force the parties to reach a settlement outside of court. A "satisfactory and fair resolution" to the case may involve a hearing or trial before a Judge or, in appropriate cases, may involve mediation.
In some cases, the parties will have reached an agreement before coming to the Family Division Court, or during conciliation. The concilliator can then give the agreement to a Judge for approval as a court order.
The conciliation process may also help the parties reduce the number of issues in dispute when the matter proceeds to court.
Questions And Answers About Conciliation:
Do I still need a lawyer?
It is advisable to see a lawyer if you are involved in a legal dispute. The court officer/conciliator does not give legal advice. The court officer/conciliator can tell you how you can contact a lawyer. The conciliation process will not replace negotiation between lawyers or mediation of disputes before a mediator.
Lawyers can attend conciliation meetings with their clients if they wish.
What will happen at conciliation meetings?
The primary concerns of the court officer/conciliator are to help the parties identify what the issues are and make sure that all information (especially documents) required by the Family Division Court have been provided. During conciliation, each party will be required to state what they would be looking for from the Judge.
Is conciliation confidential?
Details of discussions during the conciliation process will not be included in the court record.
The Judge will not know exactly what has been said, although the Judge will know what issues the parties have not been able to settle. The court officer/conciliator will prepare a document called the "conciliation record" which summarizes for the Judge what issues have and have not been agreed upon. The conciliation record is not a detailed account of the conciliation discussions.
Those parties who need and want the opportunity to negotiate privately or want an "off-the-record" resolution of more difficult issues should consider mediation or a settlement conference meeting with a Judge. The court officer/conciliator can refer the parties to a settlement conference, where appropriate.
Do I have to attend conciliation with my ex-partner?
A conciliation meeting can be held with one or both parties. The court officer/conciliator will schedule a meeting with the parties together if it is appropriate. Joint sessions will not be used in cases where there is a history of family violence or if one of the parties refuses to meet with the other party.
What if my ex-partner will not give the conciliator the information that he or she is asking for or will not attend conciliation?
Conciliation is a part of the court process and is mandatory. The court officer/conciliator and the Judge have the authority to order a party to provide certain information. The court officer/conciliator may also order that a party attend conciliation on certain days or times.
You can get a printable version of this informaion on Conciliation here:
Here is a website that offers more information relating to the law, the processes, and the services that make up family law in Nova Scotia. It will help you understand your family law issue and will provide tools to help solve your problem.
To access the Family Law Nova Scotia website, click on the column graphic to the left .