Reaching agreement (settle) helps you put the dispute behind you and move on with your life. It could save you the time, stress and costs of going to a hearing at VCAT.
- Stay calm. You may be upset or offended that there is a claim against you. You’re more likely to get an outcome if you stay calm.
- Be prepared to negotiate. Think about a range of options or alternatives you would be prepared to accept. Think about the choices and what your ‘bottom line’ really is.
- Listen. Listen carefully to the other party so you don’t miss important details. You could also pick up things that will help with your argument.
- Watch your tone. Avoid aggressive, offensive language and behaviour.
- Focus on the outcome. Be clear about what you hope to achieve and how you suggest you can get there.
- Consider their position. They have their own interests, just like you do. Compromising and agreeing to some of their interests, as well as satisfying some of yours, may be the best way to an outcome.
If you make an offer to settle and you want to keep it confidential, make it in writing to the other party and use the words ‘without prejudice’ in your offer.
This means that if your offer is not accepted by the other party, it cannot be discussed at a hearing.