A range of occupations are governed by an authority, board, panel, committee, or society. The primary aim of a relevant authority is to protect the public by:
- determining working guidelines in the profession
- assessing registration applications
- investigating complaints; and
- initiating proceedings against members for unsatisfactory professional conduct including referring cases to QCAT for disciplinary proceedings
QCAT considers a wide variety of cases relating to various professional occupations and conducts proceedings in relation to:
- referrals of disciplinary cases in the occupations listed below
- review of decisions made by a relevant authority in the occupations listed below
- applications for recovery of a debt in particular circumstances; and
- disputes about legal costs agreements
Below you will find information about the QCAT disciplinary and review process in specific professions and what you need to do as an applicant seeking to review a decision, or, what you need to do as a respondent named in a disciplinary referral.
What is the disciplinary process?
The role of your relevant authority includes considering complaints from the public and conducting investigations where there may be evidence of professional misconduct.
Upon completion of the investigation, the relevant authority will determine if a case is appropriate to refer to QCAT for consideration in disciplinary proceedings.
The below information sets out what you need to know about the QCAT process when a disciplinary case is referred, decisions QCAT may make in deciding a disciplinary referral and what you need to do if you are named in the referral.
Only the relevant authority can refer a case to QCAT to conduct further disciplinary proceedings. A complainant or professional individual cannot commence the QCAT disciplinary process.
QCAT considers disciplinary proceedings after referral by the relevant authority in the following professions:
- Health Practitioners
- Legal Practitioners
- Police Officers
- Racing personnel
- Veterinary Surgeons
- Property Agents, Motor Dealers, Chattel Auctioneers (more information here)
- Tour operators
- Valuers and other professionals
You have not come to the correct place if you want to make a complaint about a professional individual.
If a member of the public is dissatisfied with the work, service or advice they receive from a professional individual, they should contact the relevant authority in the to make a complaint. The relevant authority may investigate the complaint.
If the complaint is of a serious nature or the professional individual is not abiding by the relevant authority’s decision, after an investigation is conducted a referral can be made by the relevant authority to QCAT to conduct further disciplinary proceedings.
When a disciplinary case is referred to QCAT, the QCAT decision-maker can make disciplinary decisions in your profession as follows:
|Profession||Disciplinary Decision Types||Relevant Legislation|
If QCAT finds that grounds for discipline of a health practitioner are established, QCAT may:
|(For full list of disciplinary actions please view the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Queensland), Health Ombudsman Act 2013 and Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009)|
The requirements for progressing disciplinary proceedings under the Legal Profession Act 2007 are outlined in QCAT Practice Direction No. 10 of 2021 and must be followed.
If QCAT finds that grounds for discipline of a legal practitioner are established, QCAT may order that the practitioner:
Extending a practising certificate
The relevant authority may apply to QCAT to extend an immediate amendment or suspension of a legal practitioner’s practising certificate for a further 56 days.
Suitability for admission as a legal practitioner
Though not a disciplinary action, QCAT may provide a direction to the Admissions Board regarding the suitability of a person for admissions as a legal practitioner. Only the Admissions Board may apply for a direction from QCAT.
(For full list of disciplinary actions please view the Legal Profession Act 2007 and Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009)
Review of suspension by QCAT
QCAT will review whether to continue the suspension of an approved teacher’s registration, or permission to teach, when the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) suspends the teacher’s registration, or permission to teach, because:
Strict legislated timeframes apply when QCAT reviews a suspension. When QCAT issues directions, the time limits for submissions will be set out for all parties.
Disciplinary matters for approved teachers
Following referral by the QCT, QCAT must examine the circumstances of a serious offence charge if:
QCAT must determine whether the teacher has behaved in a way, whether connected with the teaching profession or otherwise, that does not satisfy the standard of behaviour generally expected of a teacher.
If QCAT finds that grounds for discipline against an approved teacher are established, QCAT may decide to cancel the teacher’s registration or remove permission for them to teach. If QCAT does not cancel the approved teacher’s registration or remove permission for them to teach, QCAT may:
If the teacher’s registration or permission to teach is cancelled, QCAT may prohibit the teacher from reapplying for registration or permission to teach for a period of time.
Disciplinary matters for former approved teachers
In disciplinary matters for former approved teachers, QCAT may:
(For full list of disciplinary actions please view the Education (Queensland College of Teachers) Act 2005 and Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009)
QBCC Debt Recovery
The QBCC is entitled to recover a debt owing or claimed to be owing under s71 of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 against a licensed contractor. QCAT considers applications for debt recovery filed by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission.
Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991
QCAT considers disciplinary proceedings on referral from a relevant board, chief executive, commission, or other entity regarding evidence of professional misconduct or serious risk to persons.
The commissioner of the police service officer or the CCC may apply to QCAT to hear and decide an allegation of corrupt conduct against a police officer or a prescribed public servant, other than a police officer.
If QCAT finds that corrupt conduct is proved against the person, QCAT may make an order for the person’s:
Crime and Corruption Act 2001 and Police Service Administration Act 1990
If QCAT finds that grounds for discipline of an engineering professional are established, QCAT may:
|(For full list of disciplinary actions please view the Professional Engineers Act 2002 and Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009)|
If QCAT finds that grounds for discipline of an architect are established, QCAT may:
|(For full list of disciplinary actions please view the Architects Act 2002 and Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009)|
If QCAT finds that grounds for discipline of a surveyor are established, QCAT may:
(For full list of disciplinary actions please view the Surveyors Act 2003 and Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009)
If QCAT finds that grounds for discipline of a veterinary surgeon are established, QCAT may:
(For full list of disciplinary actions please view the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1936 and Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009)
If QCAT finds that grounds for discipline are established against registrants, inbound tour operators and tour guides (tour operators) the tribunal may:
(For full list of disciplinary actions please view the Tourism Services Act 2003 and Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009)
If QCAT finds that grounds for discipline are established the tribunal may:
(The board itself may also publish in the newspaper or on a website, notice of certain action taken against the valuer.)
(For full list of disciplinary actions please view the Valuers Registration Act 1992 and Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009)
After a referral is made to QCAT by the relevant authority, QCAT may:
- issue directions to the parties (directions are instructions to the parties involved on how the case will proceed. The directions will include time for filing of evidence, other material, and the listing of the case for proceedings including a final hearing);
- list the case for a directions hearing or further dispute resolution proceeding to assist the parties to clarify the issues in dispute;
- ask the parties to gather and file their evidence to support their side of the argument including, if required, the filing of statements of agreed and disputed facts, lists of documents and hearing briefs;
- list the case for a final hearing, after the parties have filed their evidence.
Disciplinary cases are heard and determined at a final hearing by a QCAT decision-maker. Panel members may be appointed to assist the decision-maker. You will be notified if you are required to attend the hearing in person or if a decision will be made on the written material only. After the hearing, QCAT will then make a final decision based on the law and the evidence provided by the parties.
You may have just received notification of a disciplinary referral where you are named as the respondent. You do not need to make any application as the relevant authority files a referral form to QCAT to start the process.
Generally, if you are the professional individual named as the respondent in the disciplinary referral you do not need to do anything until QCAT issues directions setting out how the matter will proceed. The directions will let you know when you need to respond, file evidence and attend any proceedings.
A party also has the right to have a solicitor or other representation, without applying to QCAT for permission when the matter relates to disciplinary proceedings. If you are being legally represented and have not notified QCAT and the relevant authority, please do so as soon as possible.
You should ensure you familiarise yourself with the QCAT process and how the disciplinary referral will be progressed to a final hearing.
If you are a legal practitioner, there are exceptions to the normal process. There are specific steps the parties must follow and you should consider QCAT Practice Direction No. 10 of 2021 before you continue.
The time for QCAT to finalise a case may vary depending on QCAT’s workload and the number of steps to be completed by parties as required by QCAT to resolve the dispute . The current average time to review and finalise your case in the general administrative reviews jurisdiction can be found on our expected timeframes page.
What is the review process in each profession?
Professional individuals can apply to QCAT to review decisions made by the relevant authority, including licensing and registration decisions. If an individual does not agree with certain disciplinary decisions made by the relevant authority, an application can also be made to QCAT to review these decisions.
Generally, you may apply to QCAT to conduct a review of your case where you have been issued with a reviewable decision by the relevant authority.
There are some exceptions in particular case types. Before making an application to QCAT, you should view the decision letter issued to you by the relevant authority to confirm your right of review at QCAT.
QCAT reviews decisions made by various relevant authorities. This means that QCAT takes a fresh look at the relevant evidence and arrives at its own decision. QCAT must make the legally correct decision based on the merits of the case and how the legislation applies in the person’s circumstances. QCAT cannot work outside of the relevant legislation and can only make a decision that the original decision maker could have made.
QCAT has the power to:
- send the case back to the original decision-maker for them to reconsider;
- affirm the decision made by the original decision-maker;
- vary the decision made by the original decision-maker; or
- set aside a decision made by the original decision-maker and substitute a new decision.
After the review, QCAT can also make recommendations to the relevant decision- maker about their policies, practices and procedures to improve future decisions.
When a review case is brought to QCAT, the original decision-maker must use their best endeavours to help QCAT in the review. This includes:
- providing QCAT with a written statement of reasons for the original decision
- providing any document or thing in the decision-maker’s possession or control which may be relevant; and
- providing additional statements of further particulars as required by QCAT
At any stage of the proceeding, should the relevant authority not provide relevant material, or if you consider there is further evidence for QCAT to consider, QCAT can ask the authority for this material after your application is filed.
Some laws provide that you can or must request an internal review of a decision first through the relevant authority before coming to QCAT. An internal review gives a person the opportunity to have a decision reconsidered by the relevant authority. You can check your case type below when applying or view the decision letter of the relevant authority and contact them to find out if they offer an internal review process.
You can check the decision letter of the original decision-maker to find out if there is a time limit and what the limit is.
Generally, you need to apply to QCAT for a review of a decision within 28 days from when you are notified of the reviewable decision. However, if you have asked the decision-maker in writing for the reasons for the decision, you must apply to QCAT within 28 days of receiving the reasons, or within 28 days of the date the decision-maker was required to provide you with the reasons, whichever is earlier.
If the relevant authority offers to undertake an internal review of the decision before coming to QCAT, the time limit will commence when you are provided with the internally reviewed decision. Check the decision letter that is issued to you by the relevant authority for further details.
There are also some exceptions to the 28-day rule, so please check your decision letter, or contact the relevant authority for information about the time limit that applies in your case.
It is important that you apply to QCAT for a review of a decision within the review time limit.
If however, due to circumstances outside your control or other reasons, your application to review a decision has not been made within the required review period of 28 days (or other review period), in some cases you can ask QCAT for permission to extend the statutory time limit.
QCAT will consider your application, but it is not obliged to grant the extension.
When you apply to QCAT for the review, you must also complete an application to extend the statutory time limit. You must also give a copy of the application to extend the review time limit along with the review application, to the other parties.
Please select your case type below to view a copy of the relevant extension request application form.
The time for QCAT to finalise a case may vary depending on QCAT’s workload and the number of steps to be completed by parties as required by QCAT to resolve the dispute . The current average time to review and finalise your case in the occupational regulation jurisdiction can be found on our expected timeframes page.
How do I make an application or refer a disciplinary matter?
If you wish to review a decision in your profession, make an application about a legal cost agreement dispute or refer a disciplinary matter (authorities only), please select your case type from the list below:
Help and further information
Queensland legislation related to the above cases are available from the Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel.
You can access a range of databases which keep records of previous decisions about review and disciplinary cases related to professionals. This includes previous decisions made by:
- QCAT and QCATA after 1 December 2009 which can be found in the Supreme Court of Queensland Library website.
QCAT registry staff cannot give you legal advice in civil cases and are not involved in QCAT decision making.
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 Court and QCAT 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 and QCAT 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 by email at email@example.com or by writing to PO Box 12217, George Street QLD 4003.
To apply for help from LawRight, please complete an 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.
The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT)’s registry is here to administer your case and provide general information. Please see below what registry staff can and cannot do to assist with your case.
Registry staff can:
* answer questions about QCAT processes
* provide information about QCAT’s different types of forms that are available for your consideration
* provide you with information and support about how to lodge an application
* refer and/or process any request to access the QCAT register of proceedings (a publicly available list of QCAT cases) or the record of proceedings (the case files themselves)
* advise on fees and allowances, and how to apply for a waiver of fees
* guide you in checking your forms are complete before lodgement (e.g. signed in the correct places)
* give you information on legal organisations that could help.
Registry staff cannot:
* provide legal advice
* advise on whether you should submit an application and whether you are filing under the correct legal area (eg minor civil dispute – consumer or trader or minor civil dispute – minor debt)
* tell you if you should lodge an appeal or a counter-application
* recommend a specific lawyer to assist you
* instruct you on how to word your application, supporting documents or what to say at a proceeding
* contact a QCAT member or adjudicator directly on your behalf
* predict likely outcomes of a case or appeal
* help you prepare your case
* advise what orders or decisions you should seek
* explain what you should do to follow QCAT directions
* recommend your next steps regarding enforcing an order or tribunal decision
* advise on exact timeframes for resolution of a case – this depends on your individual case