Public hearings and confidentiality
Most ACAT hearings and decisions are open to the public, unless we order otherwise. Our ability to protect information is limited by principles of open justice and legislation.
Information and evidence you give to us, including your name and contact details, may be available to anyone who inspects the ACAT case file or attends the hearing. If you provide information to us in relation to a case we are hearing, we are obliged to share it with other parties in a case, unless there is an order stating otherwise.
Mental health hearings are held in private.
How to apply for a private hearing
In some circumstances, ACAT may:
- direct that the case (or part of a case) is held in private and give directions about the people who may attend a hearing
- give directions prohibiting or restricting the publication or disclosure of:
- evidence given at the hearing
- matters contained in documents that are either lodged or given/received in evidence at a hearing.
To request a private hearing, a non-publication or non-disclosure order (also known as a suppression order), fill in an application for interim or other orders form [PDF 56KB] and tell us:
- the orders that you are asking for
- the reason you are asking for the orders to be made.
Access to information
Hearings at ACAT are recorded, and you can ask to buy a transcript.
You can also ask to inspect an ACAT case file or request a litigation search.
Find out more
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.