The IFEAT Conciliation Service is a member service available to help members trying to resolve problems or disputes between themselves and either other IFEAT member companies or non-member companies.
It is not a legal court or a formal arbitrary institution as it is based on the goodwill of the interested parties – IFEAT members who want to avoid formal procedures and are willing to use conciliation to find agreement on a friendly basis using good business practice.
Consisting of a select group of individuals, who are experienced and respected members of IFEAT, the Conciliators consider the problem and, with the information and facts provided by both parties, do their best to propose an appropriate solution.
- To take advantage of the service, at least one party in the dispute must be a fully paid up member of IFEAT.
- IFEAT members apply to use the service via the IFEAT Secretariat who then liaises with the Chairman of the Conciliation Committee.
- The Conciliation Committee selects a minimum of two Conciliators from its Committee and informs both parties of the names of the Conciliators.
- Once the Conciliators have been accepted and appointed, each party submits their case in writing together with all supporting documentation.
- The Conciliators attempt to settle disputes in a friendly and efficient manner between IFEAT members or, where possible, between IFEAT members and non-members.
The Conciliation Committee members are selected by the IFEAT Executive Committee and are senior, respected members of IFEAT, known for their understanding of the industry with proven experience in business and trading.
The Executive Committee supervises and is responsible for maintaining the list of suitable members of the Conciliation Committee, which consists of not less than three members selected from members of the Executive Committee.
The Conciliators are chosen from the members of the Conciliation Committee and, once agreed on by the parties, act strictly on their own as individuals and do not represent or act on behalf of IFEAT. Conciliators are not responsible for any possible consequences, financial or legal, which may occur as a result of their conclusions or proposals.
Details of the current members of the Conciliation Committee are available on the IFEAT website: https://ifeat.org/project/conciliation-sub-committee-2/
Fees & Disbursements
Most of the time the Conciliation Service is provided free of charge. Any fees or disbursements, when appropriate, are set by IFEAT and notified to the parties at the time of their request for the service. Additionally, Conciliators may claim disbursements for expenses that may be incurred. Any costs or fees are shared on a 50:50 basis between the two parties and payment is made promptly after receipt of an invoice. Depending on the cost involved, the Conciliators may request an advance of assumed disbursements before proceeding with the Conciliation Service.
The purpose of IFEAT’s Conciliation Service is that the dispute is settled amicably and that ultimately there is no winner and no loser, simply that the businesses involved will act in good faith and make honest efforts to find a satisfactory solution to their issue with the assistance of IFEAT’s Conciliators.
Recent Successes in Resolving Issues
During 2020 the IFEAT Conciliation Sub-Committee has helped several Member companies to resolve problems and disputes that have arisen between themselves and other parties during the course of their business.
Two such cases were brought to the Secretariat requesting assistance from the Conciliation Sub-Committee, both of which were resolved swiftly once the issue had been outlined and the documentation was shared. This swift resolution was due to the fact that all parties involved were IFEAT members and each responded quickly and efficiently submitted the requested documentation out of mutual respect for their fellow Members.
Conversely, two further cases were brought to the attention of the Secretariat by Members but in these cases, the other parties involved were non-members. Although documentation and acceptance of the service was submitted by the Members involved, it was difficult to reach some of the non-member parties involved and unfortunately after many attempts to contact them, one case was unfortunately unable to be resolved. The other case involving a non-member did have a positive outcome eventually after dialogue was encouraged, not only by the Conciliation Sub-Committee Chairman, but also through the assistance of an Executive Committee member based locally to the non-member party.
As a result, the Conciliation Sub-Committee has seen how important it is for Members to do business with other Members in order to avoid any potential issues. This is particularly relevant now because as of 1st January 2020 as Members renewed their membership, each was required to read and agree to the Members’ Code of Conduct, which outlines good business practices.