The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“NCAT”) will commence operations from 1 January 2014 where 23 of the state’s Tribunals will have merged into NCAT.
The Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013 received Royal Assent on 4 March 2013. It sets out NCAT’s governance framework and contains provisions that are required to facilitate the establishment of NCAT.
The Strata and Community Schemes Division and Home Building Division of the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (“CTTT”) will be replaced by the “Consumer and Commercial” division of NCAT.
The Civil and Administrative Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 (“the Amending Bill”) was introduced into the NSW Parliament on 30 October 2013 and passed by both Houses of Parliament on 14 November 2013. The Amending Bill received Royal Assent on 20 November 2013. The Amending Bill amends the existing Act to set NCAT’s jurisdiction, powers and functions. Further, the Civil and Administrative Legislation (Repeal and Amendment) Bill 2013 was also introduced on 30 October 2013, passed by both houses on 13 November 2013 and received Royal Assent on 20 November 2013. It will substantially amend the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996, Strata Schemes (Freehold Development) Act 1973 and related regulations.
Applications commenced prior to 1 January 2014
Any existing application lodged in the CTTT before 1 January 2014 that has not been determined or heard does not have to be re-lodged at NCAT. Any existing application will be deemed to have been validly commenced in NCAT. Further, if a matter is part heard in the CTTT, the hearing will not have to begin again but will continue to be heard by the CTTT. Any orders made by the CTTT will also remain in force.
Applications commenced on or after 1 January 2014
Applications commenced on or after 1 January 2014 must be filed in NCAT. There has been some significant changes. The most notable are:
- A party must obtain NCAT’s permission to be legally represented.
- Each party bears their own costs of NCAT proceedings unless there are special circumstances justifying a costs order against a party.
- A new feature of NCAT will be its easy, timely and cost effective internal merits appeal mechanism that will apply across all NCAT Divisions. An appeal of a NCAT member’s decision will be heard by an NCAT Appeal Panel consisting of 3 NCAT members with a further right of appeal to the Supreme Court of NSW.
If you have any queries in relation to the proposed changes, please do not hesitate to contact our strata law specialist Michael Pobi of Pobi Lawyers on (02) 8710 3430.