What is a conference?
A conference is an informal, private meeting arranged by the AAT to discuss your case. It is used in most applications, and many cases are resolved at this stage.
It is conducted by an AAT Conference Registrar or Member, and attended by:
- you or your representative
- a representative of the decision-maker.
If you want to, you can bring a support person such as a friend or family member.
You can check the Guide to Workers’ Compensation Jurisdiction for more information about a conference. You can also watch our video guide.
Look at Confidentiality in ADR processes for more information about confidentiality in a conference.
When and where will the conference be held?
A conference will usually be held between 6 and 10 weeks after we receive the application. It might be held in person at an AAT registry or by telephone.
We will write to you with the date, time and location of the conference.
Usually, conferences last about 30 to 45 minutes, but they can last up to an hour or longer.
What happens if I cannot attend the conference?
You should tell us as soon as possible and we might be able to change the date.
If you do not attend the conference and you do not have a good reason, we might dismiss the application.
How can I prepare for the conference?
You do not need a lawyer to come to the AAT. However if you want legal advice or representation you should organise this before the conference.
If you are represented, you and the decision-maker must discuss:
- what you are seeking
- the issues in dispute
- whether the T documents contain all relevant documents.
We expect the decision-maker to ensure this happens within a reasonable time before the conference.
If relevant to the decision under review, you must provide the decision-maker a list of your treating doctors or other health practitioners. You and the decision-maker must consider:
- whether additional medical evidence is required
- whether a joint medical report could be obtained
- whether other investigations are required and how they will be undertaken.
The decision-maker must make arrangements to obtain additional documents relating to your employment, if it considers such documents are necessary.
Obtaining additional medical evidence
You must give us any new information, or have made arrangements to obtain the information, before the conference. If you want to provide an expert medical report you must give us the report or make an appointment with an expert, before the conference.
The appointment must be within 8 to 10 weeks of the application being lodged, and if this is not possible, an appointment should be made with another expert unless there are compelling reasons for seeing a particular expert.
You can also request that we issue a summons to produce medical records or any other documents that will be relevant to the review. If possible, you should do this before the conference.
Read all the review documents you have been given, and make sure you bring them to the conference. This includes all the documents we have sent you, as well as the T documents and any other documents sent to you by the decision-maker after you lodged the application.
What happens at the conference?
The Conference Registrar or Member will assist the parties to:
- talk about why the decision was made and define the issues in dispute
- consider any new evidence, and identify any further evidence that will be gathered
- talk about the strengths and weaknesses of each party's case and explore whether an agreed outcome can be reached
- talk about what happens next.
The Conference Registrar might ask or direct you and the decision maker to give us more information.
We do not make a final decision at a conference.
What happens if there is an agreed outcome?
If you and the decision-maker come to an agreement about the decision, the terms of the agreement must be put in writing, signed by all the parties and sent to us. Look at Coming to an agreement for more information about what happens then.
If you are the applicant, you might decide you want to withdraw the application after the conference. Look at Can I withdraw an application? for information about how to do this.
What happens if there is no agreed outcome?
If an agreement cannot be reached at the conference we might:
If we hold a second conference we will:
- talk about the progress of the review and any new issues
- consider any new evidence
- talk about the strengths and weaknesses of each party's case and try to help you reach an agreed outcome or narrow the issues in dispute
- if an agreed outcome cannot be reached, talk about listing the application.