Monday, December 2, 2013

New Tribunal commences 1 January 2014

On 1 January 2014 a significant change will take place in the New South Wales justice system: the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) will commence operations, replacing the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal and twenty other dispute resolution tribunals and boards.


Work has been proceeding on NCAT all year – you can read more about the background, and where work is up to, here.

The TU has been involved through the State Government's NCAT Reference Group, where we've tried to ensure that the new tribunal will provide tenants at least the same level of access to justice as the CTTT. We're hopeful that it will: most of the provisions about NCAT's Commercial and Consumer Division are familiar from the CTTT, and a few things have been tidied up. For example, a restriction on rehearing proceedings where a warrant for possession has been executed has been tightened up, so that the restriction will now apply just to the termination and possession orders, and other aspects of the proceedings (say, the amount of rent owing) may be reheard (CAT Act, Sch 4, clause 12(2)(b)).

Probably more notable is that 'rehearings' in NCAT will be 'appeals' to an Appeal Panel of NCAT; that parties have a right to have an appeal heard on a question of law (section 80(2)(b)); and that the President of NCAT is a Supreme Court judge (the inaugural President, just appointed, is Justice Robertson Wright).

We're hopeful that these changes lead to better, more rigorous decisions from the Tribunal generally.
 

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