QCAT is part of the justice administration division within the Department of Justice and Attorney-General. The Minister responsible for QCAT is the Honourable Shannon Fentiman, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence.
QCAT is led by the President and Deputy President. The tribunal includes senior members, members, adjudicators, justices of the peace and the registry.
Justice Kerri Mellifont was appointed as a Supreme Court Judge in 2021 and as QCAT President for three years from 22 November 2021.
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
Judge Geraldine Dann was appointed a judge of the District Court of Queensland on 7 September 2020 and as QCAT Deputy President on 27 January 2022.
The Deputy President's roles and responsibilities 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.
Senior members manage case lists within QCAT’s civil, administrative, disciplinary, human rights, minor civil disputes and appeals divisions. They also hear and decide matters and, with the assistance of the tribunal registry, manage the prioritisation and coordination of hearings and compulsory conferences.
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 solicitors or other people who have specialist knowledge, expertise or experience relevant to a QCAT jurisdiction. For example, a social worker could be a member of the tribunal to hear child protection matters.
Judges of the Supreme and District Courts 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 mainly hear minor civil disputes. They have the same power and functions of a member and may also be involved in conducting compulsory conferences or mediations.
Justices of the Peace*
Justices of the Peace (JPs) hear and decide minor civil disputes up to the value of $5000 (excluding urgent residential tenancy matters) in five locations.
JPs may either be appointed as legally or non-legally qualified. Minor civil dispute tribunals constitute one legally qualified and one non-legally qualified JP.
Further information about this initiative can be found on the Justices of the Peace page.
*Due to the social distancing imperatives resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and to ensure the health and safety of QCAT JPs and the parties appearing in matters, the Justice of the Peace Initiative is currently in abeyance.
The role of the registry is to support the President, Deputy President, members and QCAT clients. The registry is responsible for accepting user applications, providing administrative support and managing inquiries. Staff in the registry cannot provide legal advice.
QCAT services are delivered throughout the state through the Magistrates court with approximately half of the matters being heard outside of Brisbane.
The local Magistrates Court is the first point of contact for surburban Brisbane and non-Brisbane based QCAT clients. All courthouses outside of the Brisbane CBD can:
- provide information about QCAT over the telephone or at the counter
- supply application forms for all matter types
- accept completed application forms and supporting documents
- accept the payment of application fees
- conduct proceedings for minor civil disputes.
The tribunal may consider other arrangements such as videoconferencing or teleconferencing if you are unable to access your local courthouse.
A list of former tribunals, which were amalgamated into QCAT on 1 December 2009 and no longer exist, can be found here.