Working at ACAT

When you work at ACAT, you are part of a team helping parties resolve disputes.

Find out more about ACAT and our organisational structure.

ACAT Members

ACAT Members are appointed by the ACT Executive. The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008 guides the appointment process and independence of Members.

Find out more about current ACAT Members.

Registry staff

ACAT is a small, agile organisation, working in a fast-paced, dynamic, and unique work setting, delivering high quality services to tribunal users. Our registry teams provide a high level of support and assistance to tribunal members, and enable quick, simple, and inexpensive access to justice through the provision of effective administrative services.

ACAT registry staff are employed by the ACT Public Service under the Public Sector Management Act 1994.

Find out more about the ACT Public Service conditions of service, employment pathways and job vacancies (permanent and temporary) at Jobs ACT.

Students and interns

ACAT engages with the Australian National University (ANU) and the University of Canberra (UC) to provide law students observation and research opportunities through internships. Internships are usually for about 10 days.

Internships provide exposure to practical aspects of the administration of the law and the work of ACAT. They also encourage a culture of learning within ACAT.

If you are a law student interested in becoming an intern, contact us.

Research associate

ACAT employs a research associate who is a legal graduate or final year law student for a period of 12 months.

The position is responsible for providing legal research assistance to Tribunal members and staff, providing assistance to members in hearings and assisting with preparation for proceedings, editing of Tribunal decisions, and assists with the delivery of operational services provided by the members support team.

Further information is available in the ACAT Research Associate Information Package.

Current Research Associate Opportunity

ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Research Associate
Full-time Temporary

Closes: 11:59pm, 4 March 2024

Classification: Associate Level 1
Salary: $72,889 to $74,625 plus superannuation
Position No: 41263
Contact Officer: Michelle Cornell on 6205 9650 or

Details: The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) is seeking a dedicated and enthusiastic person to perform the role of the ACAT Research Associate. The successful applicant will be people focused, possess well-developed administration and research skills, excellent attention to detail, and the ability to work independently as well as part of a team. The ACAT Research Associate works in a dynamic, demanding role and works closely with the ACAT President, ACAT Registrar and other Tribunal Members. The Officer will perform a range of associate work, including providing in-hearing support to presiding members, providing technological support across the ACAT, legal research, reviewing and editing of written decisions, and general administration.

Eligibility/Other Requirements: Completion or near completion of a Bachelor of Laws Degree (or higher law qualification) is essential.

Note: This is a temporary position available for a period of 12 months. For students still finishing their studies, some flexibility around your studies is possible.

How to apply: 
Applicants are required to submit:

  • A current curriculum vitae;
  • Contact details of at least two referees; and
  • A pitch of no more than one page, telling us how your skills, experience and ability make you the best person for the job and explaining why you want to work as a Research Associate?

Applications should be sent to

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.

DecisionWhat the tribunal decides or determines about an issue or a dispute. The tribunal may sometimes explain why in a statement of reasons.

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.

GuardianA guardian is a person ACAT appoints to make personal decisions, about health, welfare and where a person lives, for a person who has impaired decision-making ability (the ‘protected person’).

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.

ManagerA manager is a person ACAT appoints to make decisions, about property and money, for a person with impaired decision-making ability (the ‘protected person’).

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.

OrderA direction or instruction of the tribunal that a person do a certain thing. The tribunal can make different types of orders depending on the case type and the tribunal’s powers in a case or dispute.

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.

Protected personA person who has impaired decision-making ability and about whom an application to ACAT may be made seeking orders under the Guardianship and Management of Property Act 1991 or the Power of Attorney Act 2006.

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.