After both Users (the Applicant and Respondent) have joined the case, it will automatically move to the Negotiation Stage (Stage 1). In Negotiation, the Users can send messages to each other, talk about the issues, and try to settle the dispute.
Negotiation is a chance for the Users to work together and settle the issues by themselves. If the Users can negotiate and agree on a settlement, this will save everyone time and money, and it will help finish the case quickly.
In addition to the information below, the CAT has developed a guide to help Users understand and use the CAT’s online system in Stage 1 - Negotiation.
In Negotiation, Users can make settlement offers to each other. A settlement offer describes how that User would like to resolve the dispute.
When a User makes a settlement offer, the online system automatically sends it to the other User. That User can either accept that offer or make a counter-offer. There is no limit to the number of settlement offers that Users can make.
When the Applicant files their case at the beginning, they also make their first settlement offer. When the Respondent joins the case, they will see the Applicant’s first offer and will be asked to respond.
Accepting an Offer
If a User accepts a settlement offer, the online system will automatically create a Settlement Agreement for both Users to have. The case will then be closed.
Making a Counter-offer
If a User has received a settlement offer and they don’t want to accept it, they can make a counter-offer. When a User makes a counter-offer, the online system sends it to the other User.
There is no limit to the number of offers that the Users can make but the Users must take turns. This means that you cannot send a second offer or a different offer until the other User has responded to your first one.
Offers are binding
It is important to note that as soon as you make an offer to the other User, you cannot take it back. If the other User accepts your offer, your case will be closed. You should think very carefully about the offers that you make.