Changes to NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunals

Posted on 13 March 2014

As of 1 January 2014, twenty-three separate tribunals in NSW were amalgamated into what is now know as the NCAT – NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

In 2011 the Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Law and Justice directed an inquiry to look at opportunities for amalgamation and recommended the formation of one body to service the people of NSW. This was in response to the cumbersome and sometimes confusing number of existing tribunals dealing with a wide variety of legal issues. The services of the newly formed NCAT will promote easier access to justice, improve the quality, efficiency and consistency in regard to decision making and improve transparency of public services. There will be no change to the jurisdiction of the twenty-three tribunals, except to bring them together under one administrative structure with uniform procedural rules.

NCAT will incorporate almost all of the state’s tribunals but is structured in a way that preserves existing specialty areas. It will have four divisions:
- Administrative and Equal Opportunity Division
- Consumer and Commercial Division
- Occupational Division
- Guardianship Division

The internal appeals panel of NCAT is set to enable quick and accessible reviews of most tribunal decisions.

For applications lodged prior to 1 January 2014 but are still to be heard, new applications do not need to be lodged. Existing matters underway in the abolished tribunals will be continued by its’ members. Unheard and part-heard applications will still have the functions of the previous tribunal applied as well as the applicable laws in existence prior to the commencement of NCAT.

The law is complicated – not even including our formal Court system we had 23 tribunals in NSW alone! No wonder people are overawed by legal matters. If you need help navigating your way through any legal issue, please contact the experienced and compassionate team at Dooley & Associates – the difference is in the service!