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NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)

What does the tribunal do?

The NCAT was established on 1 January 2014, incorporating more than 20 tribunals that were in operation in NSW prior to this time. It is a tribunal made up of four divisions, namely the Administrative and Equal Opportunity Division, the Consumer and Commercial Division, the Guardianship Division, and the Occupational Division, with each Division dealing with a whole range of matters. Described as the “one stop shop” for tribunal services in NSW, the work of the NCAT covers a wide range of matters, from retail lease disputes to the review of administrative decisions made by NSW Government agencies. For your convenience, a brief summary of each Division of NCAT is provided below.

You should have been informed as to whether or not your matter can be dealt with by NCAT by the relevant government agency or board. If you are unsure, please don’t hesitate to contact the experienced lawyers here at The Quinn Group on (02) 9223 9166.

Consumer and Commercial Division

What does the tribunal do?

The Consumer and Commercial Division of NCAT deals with what can be described as everyday disputes. This Division is essentially the new Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal. In this Division of NCAT, disputes relating to areas such as dividing fences, home building, retail leases, strata and community schemes, consumer claims and tenancy are resolved.
Who can appear?
While self representation is encouraged in the Consumer and Commercial Division of NCAT, you can still seek legal representation if you find the process a little overwhelming. To be legally represented however, you must apply in writing before your matter is heard or at your first hearing.

Administrative and Equal Opportunity Division

What does the tribunal do?

The Administrative and Equal Opportunity Division of NCAT is primarily concerned with discrimination matters and matters concerning the review of administrative decisions made by NSW government agencies. It covers a range of matters that were previously dealt with by the Administrative Decisions Tribunal.
In relation to discrimination matters, this Division of NCAT will commonly deal with complaints referred to it by the Anti-Discrimination Board (ADB) regarding alleged discrimination, harassment, victimization and vilification breaches of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1997. Note that such matters are referred to NCAT and if you do have a complaint about discrimination, harassment, victimization or vilification you must first lodge a complaint with the ABD.

The Tribunal also has other functions in relation to discrimination matters. These functions include making a determination as to whether a complaint made to and rejected by the ADB should be given leave to proceed in NCAT, reviewing decisions relating to the operation of exemptions from the Anti-Discrimination Act 1997 made by the President of the ABD, and registering conciliation agreements made at the ADB so as to make such agreements enforceable.

In relation to its function of reviewing administrative decisions made by NSW government agencies, NCAT will commonly review decisions concerning firearm licensing, State Revenue, State tax and some State grants, and the freedom of information. It also reviews some decisions made in the community services sector, those relating to working with children checks, and those made concerning victims recognition and restitution payments.

Who can appear?

Unlike the Consumer and Commercial Division of NCAT, the Administrative and Equal Opportunity Division of NCAT is not specifically designed for parties to represent themselves. Be that as it may, you can still present your own case to the Tribunal if you wish, but you do have the option of having a lawyer representing you. If you are going to represent yourself, ensure that you are prepared for your hearing.

Guardianship Division

What does the tribunal do?

The Guardianship Division of NCAT is essentially the specialist disability division. This Division of the Tribunal hears applications seeking the legal appointment of a substitute decision maker in the circumstance that a particular adult is incapable of making their own decisions due to some decision making disability.

This Division of NCAT may determine applications made to make guardianship or financial management orders, to review enduring powers of attorney or enduring guardianships, to provide consent for treatment by a dentist or doctor, and to approve a clinical trial so that people who are incapable of making decisions due to some decision making disability can take part.

Who can appear?

Hearings in the Guardianship Division are rather informal, and self representation is encouraged. However, if you do feel as though you do need legal representation, you can get such approval from the Tribunal. Your lawyer can make the request for representation for you, although it needs to be done at least five business days before the hearing.

Occupational Division

The Occupational Division of NCAT deals with matters concerning occupational regulation and professional discipline. This means that this Division of NCAT is the forum for disciplinary hearings about legal and veterinary practitioners, architects and building professionals, and a broad range of health professionals. It can also review decisions made about the conduct of legal practitioners.

This Division of NCAT can also review decisions made by government agencies about taxi, bus, hire car and tow truck drivers or operational licenses, or licenses required as a condition precedent for people working as a security guards, builders, real estate agents, motor dealers and repairers, pawnbrokers, stock and station agents, business agents, travel agents and licensed conveyancers.

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The Quinn Group operates Quinn Consultants, Quinn Lawyers, Quinn Financial Planning and Quinn Financial Solutions. The Quinn Group provides related information in regard to legal, accounting and financial planning issues. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation* *other than for the acts or omissions of financial services licensees.