On 19 December 2012, Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie launched a review of the Queensland Civil and Administration Tribunal Act 2009 and released a consultation paper to facilitate the review.

Here, Senior Associate Anthony Pitt and Solicitor Samantha Hotton outline the key aspects of the consultation paper and the process by which submissions can be made.

Key points

  • The review will cover a range of issues, including appeals in the minor civil disputes jurisdiction, legal representation as well as the adequacy of QCAT’s regional services.
  • Submissions are due by Friday, 22 January 2013.

Consultation paper

The consultation paper (found here) outlines the terms of reference for the review and also poses a number of questions about how QCAT operates and how it can be improved.

Some of the questions upon which comment is sought include:

  • whether the objects of the Act are still valid;
  • whether any amendments should be made to the Act to further promote:
    • accessibility;
    • fairness;
    • economical, informal and quick resolution of disputes;
    • quality and consistency of decisions;
  • whether legal representation should be as of right in certain types of QCAT matters or in certain circumstances;
  • whether free legal representation should be extended to impecunious parties in QCAT proceedings;
  • whether anything can be done to improve QCAT’s regional and rural service delivery;
  • whether appeals from some QCAT decisions should continue to be heard within QCAT or instead be heard by the courts;
  • whether appeals should be as of right or only with leave;
  • whether appeal rights should be restricted according to the monetary value of the matter in issue;
  • whether financial disincentives could be employed to discourage unmeritorious appeals.

Submissions

The Government is calling for written submissions to be made in relation to the issues discussed in the paper, as well as any other issues that a party wishes to raise about the operation of the Act and how it can be improved.

We are aware that many of our readers have been involved in proceedings before QCAT.

If you have been dissatisfied with any aspect of QCAT’s processes (eg, jurisdictional issues, legal representation, delays in obtaining hearing dates or a written decision) or can think of ways that QCAT’s processes can be improved or streamlined, we suggest that you make a submission so that it can be considered as part of the review.

If you would like to make a submission, you must send your submission in writing to:

Mail:

Review of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009

Strategic Policy

Department of Justice and Attorney-General

GPO Box 149

Brisbane QLD 4001

or

Email: qcatreview2012@justice.qld.gov.au

Please note that the closing date for submissions is Friday, 22 February 2013.