WHAT TO EXPECT AT QCAT
The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) is an independent tribunal that aims to resolve disputes in an efficient and cost-effective manner. It deals with a wide range of disputes, including debt disputes, building disputes, minor civil disputes and tree disputes, just to name a few.
If you are considering filing an application in QCAT or if you have been served with QCAT documents, there are several things you should keep in mind:
- The QCAT forum is intended to be more informal than the court process. The matter will be handled by a Member or Senior Member (as opposed to a Registrar or a Judge) and parties are not necessarily bound by the rules and processes that exist in the court system (for example, the rules of evidence).
- QCAT is generally a lawyer-free jurisdiction and parties are encouraged to resolve disputes themselves, which also contributes to the element of informality.
Despite this, it is common for parties to obtain legal advice and seek guidance throughout the QCAT process and in some circumstances, an application can be made to seek leave to be legally represented. The tribunal will consider a number of factors, including whether or not the case involves a complex question of law or fact, in deciding whether or not a party should be permitted to have legal representation.
- Parties involved in a QCAT proceeding are usually required to pay their own legal costs and QCAT rarely makes orders about adverse costs.
This is in contrast to the Courts, whereby a plaintiff that is awarded default judgment or is successful with a claim will likely be able to recover a percentage of their legal costs from the defendant in accordance with a scale of fees.
If you require legal assistance in relation to a QCAT dispute please do not hesitate to contact McLaughlins Lawyers on (07) 5591 5099 and speak to one of our litigation lawyers today.
If you would like to watch our vlog regarding what to expect at QCAT click here.
Author: Alex Hamlyn
Directors: Ian Kennedy and Sophie Pearson
Date: 5 February 2020