About ACAT

What to expect at ACAT

The following details may assist you during your visit to the ACAT. While the ACAT is not a court it is still important to abide by and respect the rules of the Tribunal.

The Tribunal’s jurisdiction powers and procedures are defined by the ACAT Act, other authorising laws and its Rules and Directions. You will find links to those documents on this site.


What should I wear?

Present well, shoes, neat and tidy

Tape Recorders and Cameras

Personal tape recorders and cameras are not permitted in any ACAT hearing without the specific approval of the ACAT Presidential Members. Special rules apply to representatives of the media in which you can find that information here.


Weapons of any kind are not permitted in the ACAT premises although special rules apply to police officers.

Mobile Phones

Mobile phones should be switched off in ACAT hearings unless the presiding ACAT Member permits otherwise.

Food and Drink

Food and drink must not be taken into any hearing room.

Visitors to ACAT

All visitors should comply with any directions given by the ACAT Presidential Members and registry staff.

What sort of Disputes cannot be heard by ACAT? 

The tribunal cannot hear any application made under a Commonwealth Law.

ACAT cannot be used for:

* disputes over parenting or the custody of children

* disputes over child support

* disputes about wills and probate

* disputes about taxes or social welfare benefits

* decisions pertaining to recruitment issues

* Civil claims in excess of $25,000

* Criminal matters

Examples of disputes that can be heard:

* if you have a disagreement with your neighbour

* an argument over a finance agreement

* if someone damages your property

* disputes with your landlord or your tenant

* tenancy issues including disputes between tenants and disputes with strata management in which the tenancy is located

* goods application

* common boundaries

* trespass and nuisance applications

* contractual disputes

* reviewable decisions made by the ACT Government

* application for a mental health or guardianship order

* discrimination matters

* issues with utility services

There is generally a $25,000 limit on civil dispute applications although there are provisions for some exceptions. In the case of Residential Tenancy disputes the limit is $25,000, although there are provisions for some exceptions.

Oaths and Affirmations in the ACAT

When appearing in ACAT matters as a party or a witness, or interpreting on behalf of a party or witness, you may be asked to give an oath or an affirmation before you give evidence in a hearing.

An oath and an affirmation given at a hearing is a formal and serious promise to tell the truth. The difference between them is that an oath is religious in nature and an affirmation is secular, or non-religious. You will be asked whether you wish to take an oath or give an affirmation, noting that an affirmation has the same effect as an oath.

If you decide to take an oath, you will be asked to indicate which religion you adhere to and you will be asked to read the words of the oath relevant to your religion. Those swearing an oath may wish to hold a religious text relating to their chosen faith, but this is not legally necessary. If you decide to take an affirmation, you will be asked to read the words of an affirmation.  At the ACAT, the words used when taking an oath and affirmation is consistent with those set out in the Oaths and Affirmations Act 1984.

Please contact the ACAT before your hearing if you have any further questions.

What if my first language is not English?

If you require an interpreter for your attendance at ACAT, you can request for an interpreter to be made available.  The interpreter may assist by telephone or in person, depending on your needs and availability of interpreters on the day. If possible, please advise the ACAT in advance of your requirements. See Interpreters at ACAT.