Who can access documents provided to QCAT?
Generally, matters at QCAT are open for inspection for parties and non-parties unless a QCAT decision-maker orders otherwise. The QCAT file is the record of proceedings, which in simple terms is the record of all the documents that have been filed at QCAT and relied upon at the hearing.
A request may be made to search or view QCAT’s record of proceedings. Fees are required to be paid when you inspect the record as follows:
|Client Type||File Inspection Fee Payable?||Copying Fees Payable?|
|Party to the proceeding||No||Yes|
Any fees payable are subject to any legislative requirements or QCAT orders stating otherwise.
This means that in civil proceedings generally, the record of proceedings in QCAT matters are open to inspection and copying, whether you are a party or not. For cases relating to adults with impaired decision-making capacity (guardianship and administration) there are specific rules.
For more information, please see Practice Direction 7 of 2021 – ROP Accessing documents.
For more information about access to files for adults with impaired decision-making capacity (guardianship and administration) please see Practice Direction 8 of 2021 - ROP Accessing documents - guardianship.
Who cannot access documents provided to QCAT?
In limited circumstances, some files cannot be accessed for public inspection or copying unless you are a party to the proceeding.
If you are not a party to the proceeding and wish to inspect and copy a file, you cannot do so if:
- the file is covered by legislation that prevents access. For example, some categories of cases such as those involving children or adults with impaired decision-making capacity are not available for public inspection; or
- the file is the subject of a non-publication order made by QCAT
When you make a request, QCAT staff will check whether the file is subject to any non-publication orders or is covered by legislation that prevents access and advise you if this is the case.
What if I do not want my file accessed by the public?
Generally, all QCAT hearings and records of proceedings in matters are open to the public unless otherwise ordered by QCAT. Information about your matter and proceedings can also be published (for example the Supreme Court Library website, The Courier Mail or other news outlets) when a final decision is delivered.
In limited circumstances, QCAT may make an order known as a ‘non-publication order’. A non-publication order limits who can inspect and copy the material held on a QCAT file. It also prevents publication of the contents of a document or thing produced, evidence, or information in a file that may enable a person affected by the proceedings before QCAT to be identified.
QCAT must be satisfied that making a non-publication order is necessary to:
- avoid injustice to a person
- avoid endangering the physical, mental health or safety of a person
- avoid offending public decency or morality; or
- avoid the publication of confidential information or information that may not be in the interests of the public
If you are in a domestic and family violence situation and you are concerned that your identity or address may disclosed, please contact QCAT as soon as possible to discuss your concerns.
How do I access a QCAT file?
You can look at most QCAT files in person at Level 11, 259 Queen Street, Brisbane, within QCAT’s normal business hours. However, if the matter was dealt with in a Magistrates Court, you can look at the relevant Magistrates Court.
If QCAT approves your request, you can look at the file in a private room at QCAT. A staff member will be with you when you view the file/s.
Preparing your documents for inspection can take up to 3 business days, or longer if the records have been archived. Delays may also be experienced if a file is currently at a hearing.
Once your request has been received QCAT staff will arrange an appointment for you to view the file.
You can request copies of material after the inspection (fees apply).
How do I search to see if a matter has been determined by QCAT?
Anyone can apply to search for details about a QCAT proceeding. This is called searching the register of proceedings.
The register of proceedings contains information about all proceedings at QCAT. You can find out information about parties to a proceeding or the status of a proceeding.
For example, you may not be a party to a proceeding and you wish to search the register to see if a particular company has proceedings lodged against them already.
A search returns the date an application was made, case number, names of parties involved and the status of the file (finalised or ongoing).
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