QCAT is part of the justice administration division within the Department of Justice and Attorney-General. The Minister responsible for QCAT is the Honourable Yvette D'Ath, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills.
The President, Justice David Thomas, was appointed as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland in September 2013 and as QCAT President the following month.
The President's roles and responsibilities include:
- the efficient operation of the tribunal
- giving directions about the practices and procedures of the tribunal
- overseeing the selection process for members
- the management of members and adjudicators
- as a member, hearing significant matters in the tribunal
- developing a positive and cohesive culture
- advising the Attorney-General about how QCAT could better meet its objectives, and about the ongoing effectiveness of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 and the enabling Acts.
The Deputy President
The Deputy President, Judge Suzanne Sheridan, was appointed as a District Court Judge in 2014 and as QCAT Deputy President in November 2015.
The Deputy President's roles and responsibilites include:
- assisting the President in the management of the business of the tribunal
- assisting the President in managing members and adjudicators
- as a member, hearing significant matters in the tribunal including appeals of QCAT decisions.
Members are appointed on a full-time, part-time or sessional basis to conduct hearings and make decisions for QCAT matters. They may also be involved in compulsory conferences and mediation.
The President decides which members and the number of members who will hear a matter. No more than three members may hear a matter.
When deciding this, the President considers the nature, importance and complexity of the matter. In some cases the President must also consider whether legislation dictates a specific person must be included. For example, under the Legal Profession Act 2007 a Supreme Court judge must hear matters related to legal practitioners.
Members can either be lawyers or other people who have knowledge, expertise or experience about the matter being heard. For example, a social worker can be a member of the tribunal to hear child protection matters and a person who represents the interests of a landlord or tenant can be a member of the tribunal to hear retail tenancy disputes. QCAT has both senior and ordinary members depending on the extent of their relevant experience.
Judges of the Supreme and District court and magistrates can also be appointed as supplementary members. All Magistrates are automatically appointed as members of QCAT to hear minor civil disputes.
Members reflect the social and cultural diversity of the community and include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Adjudicators are lawyers who are limited to hearing minor civil disputes or other simple matters. They have the same power and functions of a member and may also be involved in conducting compulsory conferences or mediation.
The role of the registry is to support the President, Deputy President, members and QCAT clients. The registry is responsible for accepting client applications, administrative support and managing client enquiries. Staff in the registry cannot provide legal advice.