Decisions awarding costs

Awarding costs in other circumstances

In some proceedings the QCAT rules allow the tribunal to order the other party (respondent) to pay the applicant's QCAT application fee.

The rules may also allow the tribunal to award all reasonable costs to either the applicant or respondent after an offer was made if:

  • one of the parties makes a written offer to the other party to settle the dispute, and
  • the other party does not accept the offer within the timeframe the offer is open, and
  • the tribunal's opinion is that their decision is not more favourable to the other party than the offer.

The tribunal may not award this type of cost where:

  • the matter is a minor civil dispute, or
  • there are more than two parties in the proceeding and the offer would not have resulted in the settlement of the matters in dispute.

Awarding costs for specific matter types

The tribunal decides if it is in the interests of justice to order costs in:

  • minor civil disputes other than debt disputes - the tribunal may order the respondent to pay the applicant's QCAT application fee
  • debt disputes - the tribunal may only award costs against a party to pay one or more of the following:
    • the QCAT application fee for lodging the dispute
    • a fee charged by a service provider for electronically filing a document
    • a service fee and travelling allowance at the rate of the prescribed bailiff fees. The rates are detailed in the Uniform Civil Procedure (Fees) Regulation 2009, schedule 2, part 2. The regulation is available on the Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel website.
    • a business name or company search fee.

If QCAT is reviewing an administrative decision it will also consider whether:

  • the original decision was fair, and
  • in the tribunal's opinion the applicant genuinely cooperated with the decision maker.

Amount of costs

The tribunal where possible will fix the costs or state exactly the amount that is to be paid. If this is not possible the tribunal will order that the costs be assessed by an assessor appointed by the tribunal. The tribunal may direct the assessor to assess costs by reference to a particular scale of costs used by the courts.

When costs can be awarded

The tribunal may order one party to pay all or a part of the other party’s costs before a proceeding ends. The costs must be paid before QCAT will continue with the proceedings otherwise the proceedings may be temporarily stopped (stayed).

The tribunal may also order a party to provide security against the costs within a stated period of time. The tribunal may temporarily stop (stay) the proceedings until security is provided. If security is not provided within the stated period the tribunal may dismiss the proceedings.