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Talk – Meet – Resolve

Consensus-based resolution

This is where we help people involved in the dispute work together towards an agreed outcome.

Talk – Meet – Resolve is our established "branded" service. This is the cornerstone of our business and was the first service we established in 2019 for use with disputes with the Accident Compensation Corporation and was included in the Tertiary Education Dispute Resolution Service. This service is delivered using a conciliation model of dispute resolution practice by our team of practitioners. Other options for consensus based resolution include facilitation, negotiation and mediation.

About consensus-based resolution

Consensus-based processes are about creating an environment and getting people in a dispute collaborating together in a safe place to try and resolve it. It's important for everyone involved to have their say and engage effectively to help find solutions that reach everyone's goals.

Our team can help with our branded service (Talk – Meet – Resolve), with a similar service within your organisation or another type of consensus-based resolution, including facilitation, negotiation and mediation. Our Talk – Meet – Resolve service is explained in detail below, but contact us if there is another type of service you would like to discuss.

A Conciliator is an independent expert in the legal system who is experienced in resolving disputes. They have been involved in thousands of disputes and they can rely on this experience and help the parties reach an understanding of each other's perspectives and the possible ways to resolve the issues. 

About Talk – Meet – Resolve

Talk – Meet – Resolve is a timely, informal and accessible service that we can provide. It is a different way to resolve disputes than most people in New Zealand will have experienced. It is a process where the people in the dispute are actively involved in trying to find a resolution. This is the opposite to a process where the people are trying to convince someone else (an adjudicator or a judge) that they are right and the other person is wrong. If people reach agreement, this is written up and signed and becomes the resolution of the dispute.

Your resolution process itself may begin with our Talk – Meet – Resolve service.  We talk, we meet and we help resolve the problems that are important to people. We primarily use a proven process called “conciliation”. We know that the formal legal process can be challenging so we've developed a new approach. This allows everyone involved to have their say and engage effectively and help find solutions that reach everyone's goals. We know people want problems solved in a timely manner so we recommend that people try this approach first.

This is all about helping the people involved reach a resolution that works for them. It generally takes about 20 working days after the entry phase has been completed and people have accepted to use this process.

The "Talk" step

Why we Talk

We’re experts in talking and listening with people, but we’re not counsellors or advocates representing one side or the other.  We know that for most people, talking confidentially with someone they can trust is the most effective way for people to explain the issues they are concerned about. That’s why talking to everyone involved (including whānau, advocates or lawyers, decision makers), is the first step in our process. We do this as soon as people have formally agreed to use Talk – Meet – Resolve.

What we talk about 

When we first talk to you, we explain that what you and other people say to us is confidential. Because people can trust us and our process is confidential, we can talk freely and frankly to everyone involved. This helps us to understand what people's concerns are and what people want to achieve to resolve the situation.

Once we have spoken to the people involved, our Conciliator can start planning the meeting and thinking about how best to help them resolve the issues. 

When we talk to you, we will explain our process and how to prepare for the conciliation meeting. In particular, we will discuss our “Agreement to use Talk – Meet – Resolve" This agreement sets out the rules of the process (including confidentiality) which we all agree to. Everyone needs to sign the agreement (including support people) before the meeting starts. 

When we first talk we’ll explain all of this to you and answer any questions you might have.

The "Meet" step

The meeting is the central part of the process. We get people sitting around the table talking together. We provide a safe environment for people to be heard, understand each other, and begin to rebuild trust. The meetings often last around 1 ½ hours.

Getting people to share their views of the situation

When we meet, the first thing we do is introduce each other because this is often the first time that people have met each other. We then explain the process. Then we give people the chance to say what they want to talk about at the meeting and to share their stories. This normally gets the discussion started as well as starting to share information. While people are sharing their stories, the Conciliator will write down confidential notes so that they can refer back to them during the "resolve" stage.

Helping you solve problems and giving information

All of our Conciliators are independent experts in the legal system and collectively have been involved in resolving tens of thousands of disputes. Because of this experience, we can give the people involved information on the law. We can also help identify options to solve the problems.

Identifying what might happen if the dispute was formally litigated

Because of our experience, people sometimes ask what might happen if the case went into the formal litigation process. If everyone at the meeting agrees then we can share our opinions so that the people involved can decide what to do next.

The "Resolution" step

The resolution is the final step of the conciliation. This is where we explore options for agreement and develop these.

Helping people move towards resolution

We normally find that during the meeting stage, the issues that are agreed or that still need to be resolved become clearer. Our Conciliators will help identify different options for people to consider on how to resolve the outstanding problems or identify the questions that may need to be answered using expert evidence so that the dispute can be resolved.

Between us, we have been involved in resolving tens of thousands of disputes. We know that if we all work together, we can develop different options that might resolve the issues. You can have confidence that there are very few problems that we haven’t already come across and we understand the types of options that can lead to a resolution.

What happens when people agree on a solution? 

One of the things that can happen by working together is we can find a solution that all of the people involved accept. When this happens, this is recorded in a “resolution agreement”. This is the formal record of the meeting and once it is signed, it is a legal document and it has to be followed by everyone.

Before any resolution agreement is signed, the Conciliator double-checks with each of the people involved to make sure that they are happy with the resolution. It is very important to understand that no resolution will be forced upon anyone. It is something that people need to agree to voluntarily.

What happens if people can’t reach an agreement?

Sometimes it is not possible to reach an agreement and there are many different reasons for this. If the issues need to move on to an adjudication process, then this can be provided through our Listen - Decide process. The Conciliator can discuss this with the people at the meeting. The Conciliator can even help the parties reach an agreement about when and how the formal process should start and what the issues are that need to be decided by the independent person.

If no resolution is reached, then depending on how things are designed:

  • the dispute moves on to Listen – Decide and an independent adjudicator will determine the outcome.

  • the dispute moves into the formal justice system (for example to a court or tribunal).

We’re a trusted dispute resolution partner for some of New Zealands largest organisations