News

Removal of fair work cases to the ACT Magistrates Court

9 October 2020

The Courts (Fair Work and Work Safety) Legislation Amendment Act 2019 starts on 10 October 2020. It amends the ACAT Act and provides:

  • that a civil dispute application at ACAT does not include a fair work claim, as ACAT is not an eligible Court with jurisdiction to hear fair work matters under the Fair Work Act 2009.
  • for the removal of combined fair work matters from ACAT to the ACT Magistrates Court.

ACAT can make orders removing a combined fair work matter to the ACT Magistrates Court on its own initiative or an application of a party.

Parties seeking removal should complete and lodge an application for interim or other orders form [PDF 56KB].

New video - preparing a witness statement

2 October 2020

We have released a new video about preparing a witness statement.

The video is part of a series of videos in development that contribute to our values of making the ACAT accessible to the community.

Find out more about witness statements.

New video - lodging and serving documents

28 September 2020

We have released a new video about lodging and serving documents.

The video is part of a series of videos in development that contribute to our values of making the ACAT accessible to the community.

Find out more about lodging and serving documents.

The ACT Human Rights Commission can refer discrimination cases to ACAT on its own initiative

9 September 2020

On 28 August 2020 changes to the Human Rights Commission Act 2005 started. They allow a Commission-initiated discrimination matter or complaint to be referred to ACAT (by the Commission) when it involves an unlawful act under the Discrimination Act 1991.

If the Commission prepares a report in relation to a Commission-initiated discrimination matter, they can refer the matter to ACAT within 60 days after the report has been prepared.

On referral to ACAT, the Commission must give written notice of the the referral to the person complained about. The Commission is the complainant for these referrals.

Find out more about discrimination cases.

Amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 commenced on 25 August 2020

25 August 2020

A summary of the key changes are:

  • Allowing a tenant to terminate a fixed term lease in certain circumstances where the lessor is selling the property
  • New standard clauses in residential tenancy agreements with conditions for access for purchasers and new tenants.
  • Setting requirements for ACAT to be satisfied about before terminating a lease if the tenant has used the premises for an illegal purpose
  • Requiring a lessor to have made more than 2 applications for termination and possession before ACAT can make orders about payment of future rent
  • Allowing ACAT to make orders it considers appropriate in residential tenancy matters including declaratory orders
  • Allowing defects in notices to be corrected if the person receiving the notice would not be in a significantly worse position if the notice or service of the notice was not corrected
  • Enabling ACAT to suspend an order for a new tenancy agreement arising from family violence and protection orders in certain circumstances for up to three weeks
  • Clarifying that a referral from Rental Bonds is an application for the resolution of a dispute
  • Allowing regulations to be made to create minimum standards for rental properties
  • Repairs to cooling is an urgent repair under the standard residential tenancy terms

This is a summary of some of the new laws. To get advice about how the new laws apply to your situation, a list of free legal advice providers is available here.

New approved form

25 August 2020

The approved form Application for Resolution of a Dispute under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 has been amended to allow an applicant to provide information about previous applications made to ACAT for a tenancy.

The new form takes effect on 25 August 2020 and is available here.

Changes to ACAT's procedures for rental bond matters

25 August 2020

From 25 August 2020 there will be some changes to ACAT’s procedure for rental bond matters.

The changes apply to bond disputes referred to ACAT from Rental Bonds where the lessor’s claim:

  1. is for deductions from the bond only; and
  2. does not exceed the bond.

If the dispute is not resolved at the rental bond conference, the lessor may be required to give the tenant and the ACAT a Rental Bond Claim setting out each item they are claiming from the bond and the total amount of the claim. There is no fee for this document.

The tenant can respond using a Rental Bond Response.

Lessors are still required to provide a list of deductions they seek from the bond to ACAT and the tenant at least seven days before the rental bond conference. More information is available here.

Fee increases in 2020 have started

1 August 2020

ACAT's current fees are set out in the Court Procedures (Fees) Determination 2020 (No 2).. The fee increases start on 1 August 2020.

You can also view a  summary of fees [DOC 48KB]. This summary tells you the fees for ACAT's case types.

Find out more about fees.

New asbestos laws

9 July 2020

The Loose-fill Asbestos Legislation Amendment Act 2020 commenced on 1 July 2020.

Under the new laws, a residential tenancy agreement, occupancy agreement, assignment or sub-letting entered into on or after 1 July 2020 for premises affected by loose-fill asbestos (Mr Fluffy) is void. A list of affected premises is publicly available on the affected premises register.

A person can use the application for resolution of a tenancy dispute form [PDF 298KB] or [DOC 240] to apply to ACAT for compensation from the lessor or grantor for any rent or other payment made under a void agreement.

Fee increases in 2020 are starting soon

1 July 2020

ACAT's fees will increase on 1 August 2020.

For more information about the increase in ACAT fees, see the Court Procedures (Fees) Determination 2020 (No 2).

For information about ACAT's current fees, see ACAT fees.

Cancellation and criminal intelligence applications made by the Chief Police Officer

12 June 2020

New laws commenced on 6 June 2020 that allow the Chief Police Officer (CPO) to apply to ACAT to cancel a constructions industry or liquor licence or permit on the basis of criminal activity. When asking for a licence to be cancelled, the CPO can seek to rely on criminal intelligence information.

A person can also apply to ACAT to revoke a cancellation order.

To find out more, see:

Changes to ACAT due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

10 June 2020

Up-to-date information about the changes made at ACAT due to COVID-19 is available here.

Please read this information carefully if you have a case at ACAT.

Online form for civil dispute applications

2 March 2020

From 2 March 2020 an online form is available for civil dispute applications.

The online form can be completed by self-represented litigants.  Applicants can follow the link from the ACAT website to start an application, following the step-by-step instructions to complete the form.  Once completed, the fee payment can be made electronically to complete lodgment of the application.

Find out more about online forms.

Interpreter protocols

20 February 2020

The ACT Supreme Court, Magistrates Court and ACAT have issued interpreter protocols.

Find out more about:

New ACAT rules and practice notes

3 February 2020

The ACT Civil and Administrative Procedures Rules 2020 (the rules) start on 3 February 2020. They replace ACAT's previous rules and procedural directions.

Three practice notes have been made under the new rules:

For more information, see our letter to stakeholders.

New ACAT jurisdiction for motor accident injuries

3 January 2020

The Motor Accident Injuries Act 2019 starts on 1 February 2020.

The Act gives new jurisdiction to ACAT to:

  • decide the disbursement of death benefits
  • review decisions by an insurer that are specified in regulations
  • review specified decisions of the MAI Commissioner
  • review significant occupational impact reports
  • determine applications for future treatment payments.

For more information, see our motor accident injuries information.

Australia Post - Bushfire impacts

2 January 2020

Due to ongoing bushfire activity, Australia Post operations have been impacted in a number of locations in ACT, WA, Victoria and NSW.

Note:

  • service of ACAT applications may be delayed and
  • receipt of correspondence relating to an ACAT case may also be delayed.

If you have a current ACAT case, or are going to make an application, please provide ACAT with your email address and an email address for any other parties in the case.

Check the Australia Post website for more information.

Christmas shutdown

3 December 2019

ACAT will close at 3:00pm on Tuesday, 24 December 2019 and re-open at 9:00am on Thursday, 2 January 2020.

For more information, see ACAT shutdown arrangements for 2019-2020 [PDF 513KB].

ACAT's annual review for 2018-2019

15 November 2019

Each year, ACAT publishes a review of its activities, achievements and challenges. Our 2018-2019 annual review is now available and:

  • covers ACAT's 10th full year of operation
  • gives detailed information about our case workload and outcomes.

To download a copy of our 2018-2019 annual review, go to our annual reviews.

Welcome to ACAT video

15 November 2019

ACAT has published our 'Welcome to ACAT' video. It gives information about the types of cases ACAT hears and decides, and what to expect at ACAT.

To watch our 'Welcome to ACAT video', see ACAT videos.

Changes to residential tenancy law

1 November 2019

The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2019 commenced on 1 November 2019. This Act introduces new types of applications made by landlords and tenants at ACAT.

Parties will be able to apply to ACAT about:

  • Rent increases: A lessor may apply for approval to increase the rental rate more than the prescribed amount, i.e. more than the percentage increase of the rent’s component of CPI plus 10%. A tenant may apply for a review of a proposed increase.
  • Modifications: A lessor may apply for approval of their refusal to consent to special modifications. A tenant may ask for an order that the lessor unreasonably refused to consent to their request for a general modification.
  • Pets: Lessors may seek approval to refuse consent to keep an animal, or to impose a condition for keeping a pet. A tenant may ask ACAT to resolve a dispute about whether a condition is reasonable.

Find out more about rental property disputes at ACAT.

Retirement village complaints and conciliation agreements

1 September 2019

Under new laws, a complaint can be made to the ACT Human Rights Commission (the Commission) about a retirement village operator.

The Commission may try to resolve the complaint by conciliation. If the complaint is not resolved and is closed by the Commission, the person making the complaint can ask for the complaint to be referred to ACAT.

ACAT can also make orders that give effect to conciliation agreements made at the Commission.

Find out more about retirement village disputes at ACAT.

Rental property stakeholder forum

21 August 2019

ACAT held a residential tenancy stakeholder forum on Wednesday 21 August 2019.  We discussed the practice and procedure of ACAT.

Legislation, Policy and Projects (from the Justice and Community Safety Directorate) also gave an overview of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2019.

You can download the PowerPoint slides from the forum (go to presentations and speeches).

Give feedback on ACAT's website

12 July 2019

To give feedback on our new website take our survey that has 6 quick questions.

Video about hearings

24 July 2019

ACAT has published a video about final hearings.

Watch our video to find out what to expect at an ACAT hearing.

Increase in ACAT fees

1 July 2019

ACAT fees have increased today by up to 2.5%. Find out more about fees.

There is also a new process to apply for a free audio recording or transcript of a proceeding.

Launch of ACAT's new website

24 June 2019

ACAT launched a new website on 24 June 2019.

The new website shows our commitment to service delivery and access to justice.

At ACAT, we want to keep procedures simple, quick, inexpensive and informal, while also achieving justice.

Our new website:

Contact us for more information.

ACAT celebrates 10 years

2 February 2019

ACAT celebrated its 10 year anniversary in February 2019.

ACAT began operations on 2 February 2009 when  16 jurisdictions and tribunals were consolidated into its structure, forming a ‘super tribunal’ to consider and resolve applications by various parties on a wide range of issues.

Alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, is used wherever possible to negotiate agreed settlements between parties to an application.

The tribunal’s objectives require it to be accessible, quick, affordable, professional and fair.

The milestone was celebrated at a reception with the Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay MLA and representatives of the legal community.

Find out more about ACAT.

Glossary and terms

Glossary and terms

ACT Civil and Administrative TribunalA tribunal established under the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008. It may also be referred to as ACAT or Tribunal.

Adjourn (or adjournment)To suspend or postpone a preliminary conference, mediation or hearing and reschedule it for a future date.

Administrative reviewACAT has jurisdiction to review some administrative decisions made by the ACT Government. Find out about Review of ACT Government decisions.

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR)Also known as dispute resolution. This is a way of resolving disputes without a formal hearing. It may involve a preliminary conference or mediation. ADR is used to help parties resolve cases by agreement.

AnorMeans ‘and another’. This term is generally used to name parties to proceedings when there is more than one applicant or respondent.

Appeal TribunalA tribunal constituted under section 81 of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal 2008 to review a decision of the tribunal (not all ACAT decisions are appealable at ACAT – you may need to go to the Supreme Court).

AppellantThe individual or company that appeals an ACAT decision.

ApplicantThe individual or company that brings a case to ACAT, usually by making an application.

Authorising lawsA law that says an application (including referrals) may be made to ACAT. An authorising law may also set out the powers ACAT has in a case. Also see ‘jurisdiction’.

Calling a witnessA party or their representative will ‘call a witness’ at an ACAT hearing when they ask a witness to give evidence.

CaseAlso known as a matter, dispute, application or referral. Cases come to ACAT when ACAT has jurisdiction (power) to make a decision.

Cross-examinationThe process of asking a witness questions to test or check the evidence that the witness has given to ACAT.

Defined benefitsare the following benefits (see section 33 of the MAI Act):

  1. income replacement benefits;
  2. treatment and care benefits;
  3. quality of life benefits;
  4. death benefits;
  5. funeral benefits.

Deliver a decisionAlso ‘handing down a decision’. This is giving a decision about an ACAT case. It may be done verbally or in writing (or both).

DirectionsInstructions that set out what each party must do (and when), often to prepare a case for hearing.

Directions hearingA short hearing where an ACAT Member or Registrar decides how to manage a case and what needs to be done before a hearing. Find out about directions hearings.

Ex parte orderAn order made by ACAT where one or more parties were not present.

Expert reportA written report from an expert that may be used as evidence.

Expert witnessA person with specialised knowledge based on their training, study or experience. An expert can give evidence at a hearing. Find out more about witness statements.

Final directions hearingSometimes ACAT will hold a final directions hearing prior to the final hearing of an application. The purpose is to make sure the case is ready to go to a hearing and give the parties a chance to ask questions about the hearing process.

Handed upGiving documents to an ACAT Member or Registrar in a hearing.

In chambersWhen ACAT considers something without holding a hearing.

Joined party (joined/joinder)A party who was not originally a party to the dispute but has later been added to the case.

JurisdictionACAT’s authority (power) to deal with, hear and decide applications (cases).

LeaveIf someone asks for leave, they are usually asking for permission to do something.

List (or listing)A schedule (or list) of cases to be heard at ACAT each day.

Listing noticeA letter or written document from ACAT that sets out when a conference, mediation or hearing is scheduled at ACAT.

MAI ActMotor Accident Injuries Act 2019 (ACT).

MediationA private meeting where parties discuss ways to resolve their dispute, with the help of an impartial mediator (who is also an ACAT Member or Registrar). It is held under section 35 of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008.

Non-publication and/or non-disclosure orderAlso called a ‘suppression order’. It is an order that requires certain information not to be published or disclosed. It is made under section 39 of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008. Find out about public hearings and confidentiality.

Notice to partiesA letter sent to the parties in a case that sets out the time, date and location for an ACAT conference, mediation or hearing.

Opening statementUsually means a statement made at the beginning of a hearing to outline the key points in the case. Sometimes parties are asked to give an opening statement at a mediation or preliminary conference.

Originating applicationAn application that starts an ACAT case.

Party or partiesAn individual or company directly involved in an ACAT case, for example an applicant or respondent. Find out how to identify and name parties.

Preliminary conferenceA private meeting where parties discuss ways to resolve their dispute with the help of an ACAT Member or Registrar. See section 33 of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008. ACAT has different types of preliminary conferences.

RegistryThe administrative section of ACAT that accepts documents lodged by parties, handles enquiries and provides support for case management.

Relevant insurerfor a motor accident, means the insurer under the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2019 (see section 34) of the motor vehicle considered to be at fault for the motor accident in the ACT.

RepresentativeA person who represents or advocates for an individual or company at a conference, mediation or hearing at ACAT. For example, a legal practitioner or an attorney appointed under a general power of attorney.

Reserved decisionWhen an ACAT Member or Registrar reserves a decision (at the end of a hearing), this means they will give their decision later, either verbally or in writing (sometimes both).

RespondentThe party (or parties) against whom orders or relief is sought.

Serve/serviceA person who can give evidence at a hearing. Find out about witness statements.

Short service orderAn order that authorises a shorter time for service (than the time otherwise required).

Significant occupational impact (SOI)Significant impact on an injured person’s ability to undertake employment.

Statement of reasonsA document that explains why ACAT made an order in a case. It sets out the law relied on by an ACAT Member or Registrar and explains how the law was applied to the facts of the case. You can request a written statement of reasons within 14 days after an order is made. Find out about statement of reasons.

StayAn order for a particular action (or decision) to be put on hold or suspended for a period of time.

SubmissionA document that sets out your side of a case or dispute and the relevant law. It is presented to ACAT either in writing, verbally or both. Find out about submissions.

SubpoenaRequires a person to appear at ACAT to give evidence or provide documents (or both). Find out about subpoenas.

Substituted service orderAn order that says how a party is to be served with an application or other documents related to the proceedings. In a civil dispute or a rental dispute, an applicant will need to consider asking for a substituted service order if they do not have a physical address for the respondent. Find out about lodging and serving documents.

WitnessA person who can give evidence at a hearing. Find out about witness statements.