Compensation hearings come in three categories or tiers. Ordinarily, the first tier of hearings is called an “informal hearing”. Realistically, the only thing that can be accomplished at an informal hearing is the administrative law judge, known as the commissioner, can make non-binding recommendations to resolve an issue. Inevitably, if the parties cannot agree upon the disputed issues, even with the commissioner’s assistance, the matter moves to the next tier, the preformal. Normally the preformal is another opportunity for the parties to resolve their differences short of a trial, but failing an agreement, the parties will report to the commissioner the exact issue or issues to be tried, how long the proceeding is expected to take, and what witnesses will testify. Next comes the trial before the commissioner, also known as the formal hearing. Eventually the commissioner’s decision at the formal hearing may be appealed by either party, necessitating a hearing by an appellate tribunal such as the Compensation Review Board, the Appellate Court or the Connecticut Supreme Court.