Telephone attendance

Parties, representatives and witnesses may be able to take part in a conference or hearing at ACAT by telephone.

Parties are encouraged (and sometimes required) to attend final hearings in person, instead of by telephone.

If you do not attend ACAT when required, your application may be dismissed or orders may be made in your absence.

Making a request

You must ask ACAT to attend by telephone at least five days before you need to come to ACAT.

To make your request, fill in a telephone attendance request form [DOC 50KB] or contact us and tell us in writing:

  • that you want to attend by telephone
  • why you want to attend by telephone
  • your phone number to be used on the day of the conference, mediation or hearing.

Consideration of your request

ACAT will consider your request and let you know whether it is approved. When deciding if you can attend by telephone, we’ll consider:

  • what the proceedings are (for example, a conference, mediation or hearing)
  • the nature and complexity of the case
  • any views expressed by a party to the case
  • the reasons for the request
  • any prejudice or disadvantage a party might suffer
  • the delay that might occur if telephone attendance is not granted
  • other matters such as whether there are issues of credibility and the amount of documentary evidence in the case.

Until you hear from us, you should assume you need to attend ACAT in person.

How it works

If telephone attendance is approved, ACAT will:

  • call you at the start of the conference or hearing OR
  • give you instructions about how to call ACAT (this will usually only occur if you are overseas or there are a number of people attending by phone).

Your obligations

When you appear at ACAT by telephone, it is your responsibility to make sure:

  • You are fully prepared for the conference or hearing.
  • You are available on the telephone number you have provided at the time that the conference or hearing will take place. If ACAT is unable to contact you on the telephone number you provide, the conference or hearing will proceed without you and orders may be made in your absence.
  • You are available for all of the time that the conference or hearing is scheduled.
  • You are ready when ACAT calls you. Be aware that sometimes the call might be delayed and you will need to wait to receive the call.
  • You are able to participate in the conference or hearing. You should be in a quiet, private place free from distractions and interruptions. If you have a mobile phone, make sure that it is charged and that you have reception.
  • You have in front of you (and have given to the other parties and ACAT) all of the documents, photographs and other material that will be discussed at the conference or hearing. Your documents are clear and numbered or paginated in a way that you can easily refer to them.
  • You have a note pad and pen to write down orders or directions that are made at the end of the conference or hearing.
  • You listen carefully to the other party or parties and the ACAT Member or Registrar. It is important not to interrupt or talk over anybody else.
  • If you are having difficulty hearing or following the conference or hearing, you tell the ACAT Member so that the issue can be addressed.

Remember, if you do not attend ACAT when you are required (whether by telephone or in person), the case may proceed and orders may be made in your absence.

More information

Contact us for more information.

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.

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’.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.