Tribunals, Tribunals, Tribunals........

Rosy Sullivan

With the New Year will come a new Tribunal system.  As of the 1st of January 2014, New South Wales will have a single Tribunal “one-stop-shop” system, which will be known as the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the NCAT), which will essentially dismiss all of the following tribunals and have them combined into one:

  • Administrative Decisions Tribunal

  • Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal

  • Vocational Training Appeals Panel

  • Victims Compensation Tribunal

  • Medical Radiation Practice Tribunal

  • Nursing and Midwifery Tribunal

  • Local Land Boards

  • Chinese Medicine Tribunal

  • Guardianship Tribunal

  • Occupational Therapy Tribunal

  • Dental Tribunal

  • Pharmacy Tribunal

  • Charity Referees

  • Chiropractors Tribunal

  • Medical Tribunal

  • Podiatry Tribunal

  • Physiotherapy Tribunal

  • Optometry Tribunal

  • Osteopathy Tribunal

  • Psychology Tribunal

  • Local Government Pecuniary Interest and Disciplinary Tribunal

  • Aboriginal Land Councils Pecuniary Interest and Disciplinary Tribunal

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Tribunal

The “Super Tribunal” will be divided into five specialist divisions:

  1. Consumer,
  2. Administrative and Equal Opportunity,
  3. Occupational and Regulatory,
  4. Guardianship,
  5. Victims.

Many of the existing Tribunal members will still hold their seats, however some may be moved around to suit an expertise area rather than serving a one size fits all approach that appears at present.

It is proposed that this system is aimed at simplifying the judicial process, with a heavy focus on facilitated dispute resolution processes such as mediation.  It is also being suggested that there will be an internal appeals process available to make working within the system easier and more user friendly.  However at this stage there has been nothing put in place to advise or explain the internal and external appeals processes.

So what does this mean for agents………we are being advised not to panic if we already have matters before the CTTT.  The NCAT Act contains initial transitional provisions regarding matters on progress as of 1 January 2014.  Division 3 of schedule 1 states that if an application is before an existing tribunal before 1 January and it has not yet been heard, then the application does not have to be re-lodged with NCAT.   Any existing applications will be deemed to have been validly commenced in NCAT. If a matter is part heard, the hearing will not have to begin again.

All previous decisions of the CTTT and any of the affected tribunals will still stand.

At this stage the legislation that sets the NCAT into motion does not refer to any application process or the hearing processes.  This means we are simply going to have to wait until the next piece of legislation is released, with the guidelines on applying to the Tribunal as well as how we proceed within it.

As the end of the year comes closer and if you are involved in any tribunal matters, please check the website prior to lodging to check for correct forms.  As soon as the new guidelines become available, we will share them on our website and through this College Chronicle.