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How to make a complaint

The QCAT complaints policy and procedure (PDF, 113.1 KB) outlines how to make a complaint about a QCAT service, procedure, practice or policy.

You cannot use this process to make a complaint about a decision of the Tribunal. A complaint will not change any decision or orders already made by QCAT. If a different outcome or order is sought the person making the complaint (the complainant) must appeal or bring an application for leave to appeal or use other legal avenues available under the QCAT Act. You may wish to get legal advice on whether you can appeal. There are strict time limits on appealing.

Do I need to make a complaint?

If you are dissatisfied with a QCAT service, procedure, practice or policy, before making a complaint you may:

  • discuss your issue with a QCAT staff member to resolve your issue immediately
  • provide feedback to QCAT via our online user survey.

QCAT complaint policy

Complaints that can be dealt with by QCAT:

  • conduct of a registry staff member
  • conduct of a tribunal member/ adjudicator/ mediator
  • registry processes or procedures
  • provision or quality of service.

Complaints that cannot be dealt with by QCAT:

  • decisions of the tribunal
  • review of a case for error, mistake or other legal ground.

Our policies:

  • no fee is charged for making or delivering a complaint to QCAT
  • complaints will be dealt with impartially and fairly
  • all complaints (whether made orally or in writing) will be reported or copied to, and recorded by, the Executive Director or a nominee
  • all complaints are properly investigated by an appropriate authorised, qualified and impartial person
  • QCAT can accept an anonymous complaint. However, we recommend providing your contact details so we can keep in contact with you about your complaint
  • consideration of a complaint will not change any decision or orders already made by QCAT. If a different outcome or order is sought the person making the complaint (the complainant) must appeal or bring an application for leave to appeal or use other legal avenues available under the QCAT Act. You may wish to get legal advice on whether you can appeal. There are strict time limits on appealing
  • to investigate and properly respond to your complaint it will be necessary to disclose your complaint to the QCAT representative concerned. Any use of your personal information will be limited to that necessary to investigate and respond to the issues raised in your complaint.

How do I make a complaint?

You can make a complaint verbally or in writing to QCAT.

Written complaints should be submitted using the QCAT complaint form (DOC, 272.0 KB).

Due to the structure of QCAT as an independent decision-making body your complaint may be directed to either the President of QCAT, the Executive Director of QCAT, the Attorney-General or another organisation. The table below shows where to direct your complaint.

 

Type of complaint Complaint directed to Where to send your complaint

QCAT staff, processes, procedures, services and facilities

Executive Director of QCAT - the Executive Director may refer these matters to a relevant delegated officer within the registry

Executive Director

QCAT
GPO Box 1639
BRISBANE QLD 4001

enquiries@qcat.qld.gov.au

The President

The Attorney-General

Attorney-General
GPO Box 149
Brisbane QLD 4001

attorney@ministerial.qld.gov.au

The conduct of a QCAT judicial member, senior member, member or adjudicator

The President of QCAT

President

QCAT
GPO Box 1639
BRISBANE QLD 4001

enquiries@qcat.qld.gov.au

Mediators

 

Executive Director of QCAT - the Executive Director may refer complaint to the Dispute Resolution Branch if appropriate.

Executive Director

QCAT
GPO Box 1639
BRISBANE QLD 4001

enquiries@qcat.qld.gov.au

Magistrates in QCAT proceedings

The President of QCAT

President

QCAT
GPO Box 1639
BRISBANE QLD 4001

enquiries@qcat.qld.gov.au

Magistrates court staff in QCAT proceedings

Executive Director of QCAT

Executive Director

QCAT
GPO Box 1639
BRISBANE QLD 4001

enquiries@qcat.qld.gov.au

Delays in decision delivery

Practice Direction 4 of 2013 (PDF, 121.9 KB) requires members and adjudicators to deliver decisions within 90 days after the decision becomes reserved.

The President of QCAT

President

QCAT
GPO Box 1639
BRISBANE QLD 4001

enquiries@qcat.qld.gov.au

How will QCAT respond to my complaint?

QCAT is committed to responding to complaints in an appropriate, timely and courteous way. Where possible, QCAT will acknowledge complaints within seven (7) days of receipt. QCAT will attempt to provide a response to the complaint within 20 working days.

If your complaint is complex or involves a number of issues QCAT may require more time to consider your complaint. QCAT will keep you informed about the timeframe for responding to your complaint. 

Abusive, trivial, or vexatious complainants

QCAT will not investigate a complaint if it is considered to be abusive, trivial, or vexatious. In those instances, the complainant will be advised in writing that QCAT is not proceeding with the complaint.

Complaints regarding the conduct of a QCAT judicial member, senior member, member or adjudicator

The President of QCAT has administrative responsibility for the efficient operation of the Tribunal. However this does not extend to directing or influencing or seeking to direct or influence QCAT members and adjudicators as to how to decide matters that come before them. The President of QCAT will determine how to deal with the complaint in a way that is consistent with the need to preserve the independence of the member or adjudicator.

Members and adjudicators are accountable through the public nature of their work. They have a general obligation to conduct hearings in public, to hear all sides to a proceeding, and to give reasons for their decisions. They must disqualify themselves from cases in which they have a personal interest. They are subject to the criminal and civil law for behaviour outside their Tribunal functions.

Members of QCAT are not subject to direct discipline by other persons apart from cases where the President believes there may be grounds to suspend or remove a member after consultation with the Minister. This complaints policy does not, and cannot, provide a mechanism for disciplining a member or adjudicator.

It does, however, provide a process by which complaints about their conduct may be brought to the attention of the President and, if appropriate, the member or adjudicator concerned. Consideration of such a complaint will not change any decision or orders already made by QCAT. If a different outcome or order is sought the complainant must appeal or bring an application for leave to appeal or use other legal avenues available under the QCAT Act.

Decisions or orders of a QCAT judicial member, senior member, member or adjudicator

QCAT decisions and orders are final and binding on all parties to the proceeding. Some provisions of the QCAT Act may permit an appeal from a decision or order: QCAT Act Chapter 2 Parts 7 and 8.

If a different outcome or order is sought the complainant must appeal or bring an application for leave to appeal or use other legal avenues available under the QCAT Act. This complaint process is not available in these cases.

Other types of complaints

Whistleblower Protection Legislation

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 relates to the disclosure of matters of public interest  in Queensland, and the protection of the person/s making the disclosure.

QCAT comes under this Act because it is a public service entity, but the Act is careful not to affect the necessary independence of QCAT’s decision-makers in the performance of their work.

QCAT can receive a ‘public interest disclosure’ about its own conduct or that of its staff. Such complaints should be sent to the President or Executive Director. Complaints of this type about a judicial member of QCAT should be sent to the Chief Justice, or the Crime and Corruption Commission.

Advice may be obtained from the Crime and Corruption Commission:
Post:   GPO Box 3123, Brisbane Q 4001
Telephone:  07 3360 6060 or toll free (landlines only) 1800 061 611
Email:   mailbox@ccc.qld.gov.au
Web:  www.ccc.qld.gov.au

Queensland Ombudsman

The Queensland Ombudsman’s Office is an independent complaints investigation agency. The Ombudsman can investigate administrative actions of QCAT but not those taken by the tribunal or a member in the performance of QCAT’s deliberative functions such as the decision to make, or not to make, particular orders or decisions in a matter.

Consideration of such a complaint by the Ombudsman will not change any decision or orders made by QCAT. If a different outcome or order is sought the complainant must appeal or bring an application for leave to appeal or use other legal avenues available under the QCAT Act.

Anyone directly affected by administrative actions of QCAT is entitled to make a complaint to the Queensland Ombudsman by:
Post:   GPO Box 3314, Brisbane Q 4001
Telephone:  07 3005 7000 or toll free (landlines only) 1800 068 908
Email:   ombudsman@ombudsman.qld.gov.au
Web:  www.ombudsman.qld.gov.au

Last reviewed
17 September 2014
Last updated
17 September 2014

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