When the parties involved in a dispute are unable to resolve their dispute by other means, arbitration may take place. This is when a commissioner from the Fair Work Commission engages both parties in a hearing, where both parties are provided with the opportunity to present their cases. The commissioner then makes a decision that essentially ends the dispute between the parties involved. This decision is legally binding on both parties. A Fair Work Commission hearing works similarly to a standard court hearing.
The involvement of courts and tribunals is a section under the workplace disputes syllabus dot point as part of the strategies in human resource management subtopic. It includes both conciliation and arbitration. When negotiation or mediation between the parties involved in a dispute fails, the Fair Work Commission will be made aware of the matter and be requested to assist in resolving it. This is where conciliation (and the involvement of courts and tribunals section) becomes relevant. Conciliation is similar to mediation in that the parties involved in the dispute will be assisted to reach a mutual agreement, the only difference being that the conciliator will be from the Fair Work Commission. Parties involved are legally required to attend conciliatory meetings, although any agreement reached through conciliation is not legally binding. From this point, arbitration (which I explained above) can be sought if conciliation fails.