QCAT may require you to file a response if you are named as a respondent in a matter, so QCAT can consider your points of view.
In most civil matters, the respondent is expected to provide a response to the initial application or referral in some form within specific timeframes. In certain civil matters the respondent can also lodge a counter application against other parties.
If you do not respond within a certain timeframe in some cases, there may be a risk QCAT will make a decision in favour of the applicant without further notice to the respondent.
The below information will help you to understand what you need to do to respond to a QCAT application or referral.
A response is your written position in relation to the applicant’s application or referral – that you accept or dispute the applicant's raised issues or facts.
It does not need to be the proof of your position as you will be given time to provide this detail in your evidence. If you wish however, you can file supporting material for your position with your response.
A counter application is a respondent's application against the applicant or another party. You are making your own QCAT application against the applicant or another party rather than just accepting or disputing the applicant’s claims. A counter application can only be submitted in certain case types.
If the counter application involves a person who is not a party to the current application, QCAT can make a decision to join the new party to the proceedings if required after your counter application is made.
*Please note that it is not necessary to make a counter application. Making a counter application is optional and you will be charged a fee. A counter application cannot be submitted in certain matter types. For example counter applications cannot be filed in disciplinary matters, review of decisions, tree disputes, discrimination matters and appeals.
If you find out that you are named as a respondent (for example through social media, friendship or networks, or being informed by another party or the applicant) and the applicant has not given you a copy of the initiating application or referral, please notify QCAT immediately.
QCAT can direct the applicant to give you a copy of the application/referral or make other orders in relation to giving the application if required.
In most cases, after the application or referral has been given to the respondent, QCAT will advise the parties of what will happen next and when the respondent is required to respond. You can respond using the forms at the bottom of this page when requested to do so.
In some civil cases, you may need to respond within certain timeframes otherwise QCAT may make a decision in favour of the applicant without further notice to the respondent (a decision by default).
When you must file a response or counter application
You must file and give a copy of your response and/or counter application to the applicant no later than 14 days after you were given a copy of the initiating application or referral for one of the following dispute types:
- a building dispute under the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991
- referral for recovery of debt under the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991
- application made under the Domestic Building Contracts Act 2000
- application made under the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997
Filing a response or counter application in all other matters
You must file and serve a response and/or counter-application for all other civil applications or referrals as soon as practicable, and no later than 28 days after you were given a copy of the initiating application by the applicant unless otherwise directed by QCAT.
As the respondent, if you do not respond to the initial application or referral filed by the applicant there are certain actions that may be made against you depending on your matter type.
Building disputes and QBCC debt recovery matters only
If a building dispute application or QBCC debt recovery application has been made against you and you have not responded within the required timeframe of 14 days, the applicant can lodge a decision by default request against you. Essentially the decision by default application asks QCAT to make a decision in favour of the applicant immediately.
The respondent will not be notified if QCAT makes a decision by default in favour of the applicant. The decision by default will be enforceable against you in the courts.
If a decision by default has already been made, you can apply to QCAT to have the decision by default set aside. You will need to explain in your application why your response was not filed in time and provide your response to the original application or referral. QCAT will review the request and all parties will be advised of the outcome. If QCAT decides to set the default decision aside then the original application will be scheduled for further QCAT proceedings.
All other civil disputes
If a party does not comply in responding to an application or referral, QCAT will determine what happens next. You risk decisions being made in your absence by QCAT, if you do not respond to the initial application or referral from the applicant within the required 28 day time limit or other time frame as directed.
If you do not respond to the initial application or referral QCAT can:
- issue guillotine orders
- direct you to explain why you have not responded
- direct the matter to proceed to a final hearing
- make decisions in relation to awarding costs for delaying the process
You may attach evidence with your response and/or counter application if you wish to.
QCAT may also direct you to gather, prepare and submit evidence to support your claim at a later stage during the process.
QCAT’s purpose is to provide a quick, inexpensive avenue to resolve disputes between parties and make decisions. However, this does not stop the parties from resolving their dispute privately or discontinuing the matter.
Formally responding to a dispute can take time and resources. Consider if you can resolve the dispute with the applicant and other parties involved.
Parties can resolve the dispute independently by approaching the person you are in dispute with and negotiating a solution privately. If you are unable to reach an agreement between yourselves, you can contact your local Dispute Resolution Centre to assist with resolving the dispute informally. Please note that you can only do this in specific matter types.
If a resolution is reached the applicant can then withdraw their matter and the dispute will be closed by QCAT.
Please note in some cases, permission to withdraw your matter may be required by a QCAT decision-maker. If you wish to withdraw your matter, learn more about the withdrawal process here.
How do I respond or make a counter application?
To respond or make a counter application in a matter, please select an option from the list below:
(Please note some matter types use a specific response form)
Find out more information
Preparing evidence in your case
Find out about providing evidence including statements and submissions to support your QCAT case.
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