To lodge a civil dispute application with ACAT you may be able to use Online Forms.
The online form has step-by-step instructions. When you use Online Forms, you lodge your application form and pay the fee electronically.
When you cannot use Online Forms
You cannot use the online civil dispute application form if:
- you are asking for a fee exemption, fee waiver or deferral of the ACAT fee
- you want to use cash to pay the fee
- you have more than 10 attachments (note, if you use the Online Forms, you can upload a maximum of 10 attachments. The size of each attachment can be 200MG or less)
- you want to serve the civil dispute application form yourself (note, ACAT will serve the application unless you tell us that you will serve it)
- you are claiming over $25,000 (find out more about claim amounts in our information about civil disputes)
- you do not have a postal address for the respondent (find out about substituted service in our information about lodging and serving documents)
- you are asking for a suppression order or non-publication order
- your application is urgent
- you are asking for interim orders (find out more about an interim hearing)
- you are asking for orders under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (see rental property disputes)
- you are asking for orders under the Common Boundaries Act 1981 (see fence disputes).
Before you start
Make sure you can use the form
You may not be able to use the online form. Read the information above to check.
To use the online civil dispute application, you need a recent browser (Internet Explorer 5.5, or Mozilla 1.7.7 and above). To view and print completed forms you need Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Find out about civil disputes
Before you start, find out about civil disputes, including:
- the types of civil disputes heard at ACAT
- what information you will need
- the amount you can claim
- the fee
- how to correctly identify and name parties.
Using Online Forms
How to start
Click here to fill in the civil dispute application form online. It has step-by-step instructions.
Online Forms account
You need an Online Forms account to lodge a civil dispute application online.
Unless you already have an online account, you will be asked to register. To register, you will need an email address. You will set your own password and security question for your online account.
If you do not want to lodge your civil dispute application straight away, you can save it in your Online Forms account for later. A form can only be retained in your online account for 45 days after it was last modified.
If you do not use your Online Forms account for 60 days, it will automatically be deleted.
You can attach documents to the online form. Note:
- you can have a maximum of 10 attachments
- the size of each attachment must be 200MB or less
- attachments must be in the format of doc. docx. or pdf
If you cannot attach your documents to the online form electronically, you will need to manually lodge the application. For example, you can download and print the online form and attach the documents.
After you complete the civil dispute application you can lodge it online. Remember:
- you will need to have an Online Forms account
- attach any required documents to your civil dispute application
- if the applicant is a company, fill in and attach the authority to represent a company form [PDF 57KB]
- If you are representing the applicant under a power of attorney, fill in and attach the general power of attorney form [PDF 241KB] or [DOC 52KB]
- you will need your payment details handy so you can pay the ACAT fee. You can pay with a Visa or MasterCard credit or debit card (note, you cannot lodge online if you are asking for a fee waiver, exemption or deferral)
- after your application has been filled in, you can download it as a pdf file before lodging and paying online
- the lodgment may take a few minutes to process
- you will receive confirmation of lodgment
- after you have lodged and paid for your application, you can download a copy of your invoice and lodged application as separate pdf files. You can save these on your computer for your own records
- your invoice will have a receipt number and a matter number. Please quote the receipt number when making an enquiry about lodgment.
Technical assistance or support
If you need technical assistance or support, contact our service desk on (02) 6205 1318 or email CourtsICMSServiceDesk@courts.act.gov.au.
Note, you should only contact the service desk for technical enquiries or support. If you need information about ACAT’s civil dispute process, contact ACAT on (02) 62071740 or email email@example.com.
What happens next?
Even after the civil dispute application is lodged, we may reject it if ACAT’s requirements are not met. We will tell you if the application is rejected.
Generally ACAT will serve civil dispute applications on the respondent, unless you have lodged your form manually and asked to serve the application on the respondent yourself.
Find out more about:
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.
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):
- income replacement benefits;
- treatment and care benefits;
- quality of life benefits;
- death benefits;
- 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.
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.