Accessibility

We can adjust our services to make them more accessible.

Contact our Assistance Officers on (02) 6205 0322 or acatassistance@act.gov.au

Do you need assistance whilst attending ACAT?


Pre-hearing tours

You are welcome to arrange a tour before attending ACAT for a conference, mediation or hearing.

Contact us to request a tour.

People who are deaf or find it hard to hear

The National Relay Service (NRS) is a free telephone service. It allows deaf or hearing and/or speech impaired clients with a TTY machine to make telephone calls to ACAT.

Clients who are deaf or hearing impaired should telephone the NRS on:

  • telephone 133 677 (for clients who are deaf or hearing impaired)
  • telephone 1300 555 727 (for clients who are both deaf/hearing impaired and speech impaired).

Let us know if you need to use a hearing assistance when you attend ACAT.

People who speak another language

ACAT can organise an interpreter at no cost to you through 2M Language Services.

Interpreters can help by telephone or attend ACAT in person, depending on your needs and the availability of interpreters on the day.

You need to ask for an interpreter at least five days before you come to ACAT. When asking for an interpreter, tell us:

  • the language
  • dialect (if needed)
  • preferred gender of the interpreter (if important).

There may be circumstances where ACAT cannot get an interpreter. If you decide to organise and pay for your own interpreter, make sure:

You can also ask us about our interpreter cards. We have interpreter cards for:

If we give you an interpreter card, show it to us when you attend ACAT so we can arrange an interpreter. We also have a language identification chart [DOC 179KB]. If you need an interpreter, this helps ACAT staff to identify the language you speak.

For more information about interpreters at ACAT, download our interpreter protocols [PDF 686KB].

Our video scripts for conferences and hearings have been translated into 20 different languages. Google translate is also available on the top right hand corner of our website (in the header). It is accessible on every page within the ACAT website.

People who cannot see or have difficulty seeing

ACAT has electronic screens on its premises which display our daily listings and cases. They tell you what room to go to for your matter. To assist you to find the room of your ACAT case, you can:

  • view our remote list online on the day of your matter
  • request a paper copy of our list from our counter
  • arrange an escort to your room by contacting our Assistance Officers on (02) 6205 0322 or acatassistance@act.gov.au

To assist you after your case, you can:

  • get a copy of transcripts of ACAT hearings which can be provided so they can be viewed with screen reader software
  • get audio versions of those transcripts.

Assistance animals

If you have an assistance animal, please contact us to discuss how we can help you and your assistance animal.

Canine Support Program

The ACT Courts and Tribunal have a canine support program aimed at reducing the anxiety levels of ACAT users. Please contact us to arrange for a therapy dog and their handler to visit ACAT to support children, vulnerable persons, victims and other ACAT users.

If you, or someone you know, are in the waiting areas of ACAT and are allergic or afraid of dogs please inform a staff member or the handler so that the dog can be removed from the area or kept away from you.

Disability parking

There is disability parking outside ACAT on Nangari Street.

Find out more about our location.

For victims

See the ACT Courts and Tribunal information about support and assistance for victims.

Technology options

There is technology at ACAT to assist you, including:

  • playing DVDs or accessing USB devices – contact us no later than five days before a conference, mediation or hearing, or bring your own device (e.g. a laptop) so that you can play the DVD or USB on it
  • visualiser - to display content on a screen
  • HDMI connections - to display content on a screen
  • free Wifi – available in public areas

To use technology at a conference, mediation or hearing, send a written request to tribunal@act.gov.au as early as possible (allow at least five days). Some technology is only available in certain hearing rooms and will need to be pre-arranged. Sometimes ACAT may ask you to bring your own device to display images or information.

We have information about remote or in person attendance.

Accessing our website

ACAT’s website is designed to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG). Maintaining an accessible website is an ongoing process and we are continually working to offer a user-friendly experience. If you have any problems using our website contact us.

These tools may assist:

  • refreshable braille displays – a small Braille display to read the screen line by line
  • joysticks / trackballs – pointers that manipulate the mouse onscreen
  • keyboards manipulated by fingers and keyboards manipulated using a head-wand –alternative keyboards with limited keys
  • screen readers – programs that convert a web site into a Braille display or read it in audio
  • screen magnifiers – programs that magnify sections of the screen
  • oversized cursors
  • onscreen keyboards
  • shortcuts for Internet Explorer – from the Microsoft website
  • shortcuts for Firefox Mozilla.

Vision Australia also provides information and links to resources.

Get Adobe Reader

Get Acrobat Reader web logo

More information

Find out about:

You can also see a poster about a Legal Literacy App [PDF 902KB] developed by the Judicial Council on Cultural diversity. The App is a plain English glossary with over 500 common legal terms used in courts and tribunals.

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.