Appearing at a QCAT proceeding
All parties involved in a matter before QCAT are expected to appear and represent themselves. If you are a party to a dispute you are required to attend and participate in proceedings unless QCAT directs otherwise. There are some exceptions if a party is an entity or there are joint applicants.
State government agencies, corporations or other entities (for example associations, partnerships and trusts), cannot physically appear before QCAT, so they need a person to appear for them. There are special rules about who can appear for these entities.
State government agencies may appear at QCAT through an employee, officer or member of the agency. State government agencies do not need permission from QCAT for these people to appear for them.
Corporations and other entities (for example, associations, partnerships and trusts) may appear at QCAT through an officer of the entity, who the corporation or entity authorises to act for it in the proceeding. An officer of the corporation or entity includes an employee of the corporation or entity. Corporations and other entities do not need permission from QCAT for these people to appear for them.
For example, the entity does not need QCAT’s permission for that officer to appear for them, if all the officers of a corporation or another entity are solicitors.
The entity does not need to get QCAT’s permission for that officer to appear for the entity, if an officer who is also a solicitor has already been given permission to represent the entity.
In all cases, whoever appears is not representing or acting on behalf of the party – they are appearing as the party.
If more than one applicant applies to QCAT in a matter, one of those applicants may be nominated to appear for one, some or all of the other applicants. QCAT may require the applicant/s who are agreeing for another applicant to appear for them to complete a certificate of authority.
If the party who will appear for the other parties is also a solicitor, they will first need QCAT’s permission to appear on behalf of the other parties, by applying for representation as set out further below.
There are also special rules about how a landlord in a residential tenancy case or a rooming accommodation provider may appear.
A lessor can authorise an agent to stand in their place before QCAT for any application that relates to the residential tenancy.
However, if they are going to do this, the lessor must provide the agent’s name and address to the tenant before a tenant starts occupying a premises, or on the first day that they occupy a premises. If an agent is standing in place of a lessor, they are appearing as if they are the lessor. This means that:
- a tenant can make an application against the agent
- QCAT can make an order against the agent
- the agent may settle the matter as if the agent were the lessor
Rooming accommodation provider
A provider who provides rooming accommodation to residents can also authorise an agent to stand in their place before QCAT for any application relating to the provision of rooming accommodation. However, if they are going to do this, the provider must provide the agent’s name and address to the resident before a resident starts occupying a premises, or on the first day that they occupy a premises.
If an agent is standing in place of a provider, they are appearing as if they are the provider. This means that:
- a resident can make an application against the agent
- QCAT can make an order against the agent
- the agent may settle the matter as if the agent were the provider
QCAT allows parties to attend proceedings with a support person if required. The support person is not able to address QCAT on your behalf or speak during proceedings. However, they can be there during the proceeding to provide you with support.
If you wish to have a support person appear at proceedings with you, you should email QCAT before your proceeding date and provide the details of the support person appearing with you.
Alternatively, you can also apply for permission to have representation from a solicitor or another person in QCAT proceedings, as set out below.
For legal advice:
- Contact the private solicitor of your choice
- Use Queensland Law Society’s Find a Solicitor service
- Contact Legal Aid Queensland on 1300 65 11 88
- Contact Community Legal Centres Queensland for details on your local community legal centre on 07 3392 0092
For assistance in legal proceedings:
LawRight's Court and Tribunal Services
LawRight is an independent, non-profit community based legal organisation that coordinates pro bono legal services for individuals and community groups. Parties with proceedings in QCAT may be able to obtain assistance from LawRight’s Court & Tribunal Services to self-represent or in limited circumstances, be given representation.
If you are unsure whether you are eligible for assistance from LawRight or wish to make an enquiry, contact the service by phone on 07 3564 7561, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to PO Box 12217, George Street QLD 4003.
To apply for help from LawRight, please complete this application form. If you are unable to complete the online form, contact LawRight to discuss alternative arrangements.
Community legal centres
Caxton Legal Centre
The Caxton Legal Centre is an independent, non-profit community organisation providing free legal and social work advice, assistance and referrals to the general public. Please note that the Caxton Legal Centre does not provide advice about building or other business and commercial disputes.
Women's Legal Service
Women's Legal Service is a community legal centre that provides free legal advice and information to women in Queensland.
Youth Advocacy Centre
The Youth Advocacy Centre offers free confidential legal and welfare assistance to young people under 17 years who live in or around Brisbane. Telephone support is also provided to young people outside of Brisbane and throughout Queensland.
Representation at a QCAT proceeding
Parties do not need QCAT’s permission to get legal advice or assistance. Solicitors can help parties collect and prepare evidence, write submissions, and prepare for proceedings without needing QCAT’s permission.
QCAT’s permission is only required when a party wants a legal practitioner or another person to represent them and appear at QCAT proceedings on their behalf.
There are circumstances where a party does not require permission to be represented.
A party has the right to have a solicitor or other representation, without applying to QCAT for permission, if any of the following apply:
- they are a child or person who has impaired decision-making
- the matter relates to disciplinary proceedings, including review of a disciplinary decision
- the enabling Act related to the matter or rules allows it
For all other matters and persons, you must apply for permission to be represented unless QCAT directs otherwise.
QCAT will only give permission for a party to be represented if it is in the interests of justice to do so.
QCAT may consider any of the following in deciding an application for representation:
- if the party seeking permission is a state government agency
- if the proceeding is likely to involve complex questions of fact or law
- if another party is being represented
- if all of the parties have agreed to a party being legally represented
- any other relevant factors
A party may have a legal practitioner or another person appear for them. If the representative is not a legal practitioner, QCAT must be satisfied they are appropriate to represent the party.
In some circumstances, legal practitioners who have been subject to disciplinary proceedings and found guilty of professional misconduct or unsatisfactory professional conduct are disqualified from representing a party at QCAT.
A corporation must provide a certificate of authority to show the proposed representative is appropriate which is contained in the application when you apply to QCAT.
How do I apply for permission to be represented in QCAT proceedings?
To make an application for leave to be represented, please apply below:
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