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 minor civil cases, the respondent has the option to provide a response to the initial application. The respondent also has the option to lodge a counter application against other parties.
In certain minor civil cases such as minor debt disputes, the respondent must provide a response to the application. If you do not respond within a certain timeframe, 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 minor civil dispute application.
A response is your written position in relation to the applicant’s application – that you accept or dispute the issues or facts raised by the applicant. You may also file supporting material for your position with your response.
A counter application is an application made by the respondent 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. If the counter application involves a person who is a party to the current application, QCAT can join the application together. This means the claims may be heard and decided together.
*Please note that it is not necessary to make a counter application. Making a counter application is optional. A counter application can only be submitted in tenancy, consumer/trader and dividing fence disputes. You cannot submit a counter application in a minor debt dispute. You will be charged a fee for making a counter application.
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, please notify QCAT immediately.
QCAT can direct the applicant to give you a copy of the application or make other orders in relation to giving the application if required.
In some minor 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.
Filing a response in minor debt disputes
If your case relates to a minor debt dispute, the respondent has 28 days from the date they were served with the application to file a response to the minor debt application. To do this each respondent must complete a Form 7 Response to minor civil dispute – minor debt at the bottom of this page.
You cannot file a counter application in a minor debt dispute.
Filing a response or counter application in all other minor civil dispute cases
If your case relates to a tenancy, consumer/trader or dividing fence dispute you are not required to file a response. You can file any reply or evidence to support your side of the argument up 7 days before the date of your hearing. Please do not wait till the day of the hearing to give the other party your material you wish to rely upon.
If your case relates to a tenancy, consumer/trader or dividing fence dispute you can file a counter application. A counter application must be filed as soon as possible prior to the hearing but there is no time limit to file a counter application.
You must give a copy of any reply, evidence or counter application to QCAT and to the other parties to the dispute.
As the respondent, if you do not respond to the initial application filed by the applicant there are certain actions that may be made against you depending on your matter type.
Minor Debt applications only
If an application for minor debt is filed against you and you have not responded within the required timeframe of 28 days, the applicant can lodge a decision by default request. Essentially the application asks QCAT to make a decision in favour of the applicant immediately.
The decision by default will be enforceable against you in the courts.
If a decision by default is made, you can apply to QCAT to have the decision by default set aside. You will need to explain in your application why a response was not filed in time and provide your response to the original application. 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 tribunal proceedings.
All other minor civil disputes
If a party does not respond to the application, QCAT will determine what happens next. You risk decisions being made in your absence by QCAT, if you do not reply and provide your evidence in response to the initial application filed by the applicant.
In all minor civil disputes except for minor debt disputes, if you do not respond to the initial application the matter will still proceed.
You may attach evidence with your response and/or counter application if you wish to.
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 in a minor civil dispute?
To respond or make a counter application in a matter, please select an option from the list below:
Find out more information
Preparing evidence in your case
Find out about providing evidence including statements and submissions to support your minor civil dispute case.
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