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5.6 Preliminary conferences
Before the stage of a formal hearing is reached, there usually will be at least one preliminary conference between the parties, convened by the AAT. The main purposes of a conference (sometimes conducted by telephone) are to:
- identify the issues in dispute;
- attempt to settle the case by negotiation; and
- if the case cannot be settled at the conference level, to ensure that the issues are properly and expeditiously prepared for hearing by the Tribunal.
Where parties reach agreement at a conference or at any point prior to the hearing, a memorandum of agreement is usually drafted and presented to the Tribunal which then makes an Order in those terms if it has the power to do so.