In all dealings with ACAT, you are expected to communicate with ACAT staff in a courteous and respectful manner. Rude, aggressive or other disrespectful behaviour will not be tolerated.
Remember, try searching our website for answers to your questions first.
ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal
ACT Health Building
Level 4, 1 Moore Street
Canberra City ACT
For further information about our location, see our attending ACAT information.
GPO Box 370
CANBERRA ACT 2601
The Registry Counter is open for general enquiries between 9.00am and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday each week.
(02) 6207 1740
If you call ACAT and your call isn’t answered it’s because ACAT registry staff are busy assisting others. Please leave a voice message with:
- your full name
- contact telephone number
- an email address
- case number (if you have one)
- brief details of your enquiry.
Your call will be returned as soon as possible. Note, we won’t return missed calls where a clear message is not left.
(02) 6205 4855
We aim to respond to emails within three business days. Include the case reference number or case name (if available) in the subject line.
When you send an email to ACAT, you must copy any other parties into your correspondence, unless there is a non-disclosure order in place.
Information ACAT staff can provide
ACAT staff can give you information about ACAT processes and procedures, and where you can get more help if you need it. ACAT staff cannot give you legal advice about your case.
ACAT registry staff can:
- show you where to get a form
- tell you if your application is missing necessary information, such as signatures, names and addresses
- explain the steps involved in a case, for example, whether the case will be listed for a conference, directions hearing or a hearing, and the likely timeframe
- explain ACAT processes, such as how to apply for an adjournment or an urgent hearing, and how to lodge an appeal or subpoena
- tell you what fee you need to pay or how to ask for a fee exemption, waiver or deferral
- refer you to a free legal advice provider or to other services
- tell you how to buy a transcript or the audio recording from a hearing.
ACAT registry staff cannot:
- predict the likely outcome of your case
- tell you what to write in your application, or whether or not you should make an application
- advise how the law applies to your case
- give you legal advice.
Making an enquiry about your case
When you ask a question about your case (in writing), please provide ACAT:
- the case reference number and the names of the parties (e.g. XD 001/2018 Smith v Jones)
- a clear explanation of your question
- any document details you refer to.
Make sure enquiries are made with as much notice as possible.
Be aware, if you send ACAT a document related to an application, or write us a letter or email, you must (unless there is a non-disclosure order) send a copy of the document, email or letter to any other party in the case.
If you have an urgent enquiry because of an unforeseen circumstance, include the word URGENT in the subject line of an email. Explain why your enquiry is urgent in your email.
Alternatively, contact ACAT registry staff by telephone. If you leave a voicemail, state that it is urgent and briefly explain why.
Contacting ACAT Members
Do not otherwise contact an ACAT Member directly about any aspect of your case. If you need to talk to ACAT about a case, contact the ACAT registry by the methods set out above.
Orders or guidelines about communication
In some proceedings, specific orders or guidelines about how to communicate with other parties and/or ACAT will be made. Parties to ACAT cases are expected to comply with any orders or guidelines that are made.
We have more information about:
ACT Civil and Administrative TribunalA tribunal established under the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008. It may also be referred to as ACAT or Tribunal.
Administrative reviewACAT has jurisdiction to review some administrative decisions made by the ACT Government. Find out about Review of ACT Government decisions.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR)Also known as dispute resolution. This is a way of resolving disputes without a formal hearing. It may involve a preliminary conference or mediation. ADR is used to help parties resolve cases by agreement.
AnorMeans ‘and another’. This term is generally used to name parties to proceedings when there is more than one applicant or respondent.
Appeal TribunalA tribunal constituted under section 81 of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal 2008 to review a decision of the tribunal (not all ACAT decisions are appealable at ACAT – you may need to go to the Supreme Court).
AppellantThe individual or company that appeals an ACAT decision.
Authorising lawsA law that says an application (including referrals) may be made to ACAT. An authorising law may also set out the powers ACAT has in a case. Also see ‘jurisdiction’.
ApplicantThe individual or company that brings a case to ACAT, usually by making an application.
Calling a witnessA party or their representative will ‘call a witness’ at an ACAT hearing when they ask a witness to give evidence.
CaseAlso known as a matter, dispute, application or referral. Cases come to ACAT when ACAT has jurisdiction (power) to make a decision.
Cross-examinationThe process of asking a witness questions to test or check the evidence that the witness has given to ACAT.
Deliver a decisionAlso ‘handing down a decision’. This is giving a decision about an ACAT case. It may be done verbally or in writing (or both).
DirectionsInstructions that set out what each party must do (and when), often to prepare a case for hearing.
Directions hearingA short hearing where an ACAT Member or Registrar decides how to manage a case and what needs to be done before a hearing. Find out about directions hearings.
Ex parte orderAn order made by ACAT where one or more parties were not present.
Expert reportA written report from an expert that may be used as evidence.
Expert witnessA person with specialised knowledge based on their training, study or experience. An expert can give evidence at a hearing. Find out more about witness statements.
Final directions hearingSometimes ACAT will hold a final directions hearing prior to the final hearing of an application. The purpose is to make sure the case is ready to go to a hearing and give the parties a chance to ask questions about the hearing process.
Handed upGiving documents to an ACAT Member or Registrar in a hearing.
In chambersWhen ACAT considers something without holding a hearing.
Joined party (joined/joinder)A party who was not originally a party to the dispute but has later been added to the case.
JurisdictionACAT’s authority (power) to deal with, hear and decide applications (cases).
LeaveIf someone asks for leave, they are usually asking for permission to do something.
List (or listing)A schedule (or list) of cases to be heard at ACAT each day.
Listing noticeA letter or written document from ACAT that sets out when a conference, mediation or hearing is scheduled at ACAT.
MediationA private meeting where parties discuss ways to resolve their dispute, with the help of an impartial mediator (who is also an ACAT Member or Registrar). It is held under section 35 of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008.
Non-publication and/or non-disclosure orderAlso called a ‘suppression order’. It is an order that requires certain information not to be published or disclosed. It is made under section 39 of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008. Find out about public hearings and confidentiality.
Opening statementUsually means a statement made at the beginning of a hearing to outline the key points in the case. Sometimes parties are asked to give an opening statement at a mediation or preliminary conference.
Originating applicationAn application that starts an ACAT case.
Party or partiesAn individual or company directly involved in an ACAT case, for example an applicant or respondent. Find out how to identify and name parties.
Preliminary conferenceA private meeting where parties discuss ways to resolve their dispute with the help of an ACAT Member or Registrar. See section 33 of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008. ACAT has different types of preliminary conferences.
RegistryThe administrative section of ACAT that accepts documents lodged by parties, handles enquiries and provides support for case management.
RepresentativeA person who represents or advocates for an individual or company at a conference, mediation or hearing at ACAT. For example, a legal practitioner or an attorney appointed under a general power of attorney.
Reserved decisionWhen an ACAT Member or Registrar reserves a decision (at the end of a hearing), this means they will give their decision later, either verbally or in writing (sometimes both).
RespondentThe party (or parties) against whom orders or relief is sought.
Short service orderAn order that authorises a shorter time for service (than the time otherwise required).
Serve/serviceA person who can give evidence at a hearing. Find out about witness statements.
Statement of reasonsA document that explains why ACAT made an order in a case. It sets out the law relied on by an ACAT Member or Registrar and explains how the law was applied to the facts of the case. You can request a written statement of reasons within 14 days after an order is made. Find out about statement of reasons.
StayAn order for a particular action (or decision) to be put on hold or suspended for a period of time.
SubmissionA document that sets out your side of a case or dispute and the relevant law. It is presented to ACAT either in writing, verbally or both. Find out about submissions.
SubpoenaRequires a person to appear at ACAT to give evidence or provide documents (or both). Find out about subpoenas.
Substituted service orderAn order that says how a party is to be served with an application or other documents related to the proceedings. In a civil dispute or a rental dispute, an applicant will need to consider asking for a substituted service order if they do not have a physical address for the respondent. Find out about lodging and serving documents.
WitnessA person who can give evidence at a hearing. Find out about witness statements.