Evidence and witnesses

Evidence and witnesses can be presented at a hearing to help each party prove their case.

Evidence and witnesses can be presented at a hearing to help each party prove their case. A decision will be made based on the law and the evidence presented.

Evidence

Evidence describes, explains, demonstrates or supports a party’s claims about what happened and may take a number of forms such as:

  • a written statement by a person in which the person describes what they did, saw, said, or heard; or
  • a document which contains proof of a transaction, such as a written contract or a receipt; or
  • a document which is proof of an event, such as a photograph; or
  • a document which accurately and factually demonstrates or supports something explained in a statement about what was agreed between the parties or what happened, such as a plan or a map; or
  • an expert report from, for example, a doctor or an engineer.

Evidence must be given orally or in writing and if required, under oath or by affidavit.

At the hearing, the tribunal may allow each party to:

  • call a person to give evidence or give evidence themselves.
  • examine, question and re-question a witness.

The tribunal may also:

  • call a person to give evidence
  • examine a witness on oath or require a witness to give evidence by statutory declaration
  • examine or question a witness to obtain information
  • order a witness to answer questions relevant to the proceeding.

The tribunal may place some restrictions on evidence and witnesses. For example, if enough information has been presented to allow a decision to be made, the tribunal may not allow the parties to present more information.

Ordering a person to attend your hearing or produce documents

If you require a person to attend the hearing or produce documents, you can apply to QCAT for an order by using Form 38 - Hearing notices: application for notice requiring witness to attend a hearing or produce document/thing at a hearing (PDF, 280.5 KB).

Only QCAT can order a person to attend a hearing or to produce documents by issuing an attendance notice. QCAT may charge a fee for this service.

If a person is willing to attend or produce a document you do not need to apply to QCAT.

Witness Statements

A Witness Statement is a statement setting out a witness’ evidence in a written statement.  In proceedings, witness statements are usually provided by the parties to the proceeding, and also by other persons who can give an account of events that are relevant to the proceedings. A Witness Statement preferably should be a sworn document in the form of an Affidavit or Statutory Declaration. The form of an Affidavit is available on the QCAT website: https://www.qcat.qld.gov.au/resources/forms

If it is not possible to provide a sworn Affidavit or Statutory Declaration, then the Witness Statement should be signed by the person making the statement, preferably in the presence of an independent witness.

Each Witness Statement (there can be more than one) should explain the relevant facts of the dispute to the extent that the witness has personal first-hand knowledge of them. All relevant documents must be attached to a Witness Statement and their relevance to the dispute explained.

All pages of a Witness Statement should be numbered consecutively (1, 2, 3 etc.) starting at the first page of the Witness Statement through to the last page of the last attachment (if any). This allows the Witness Statement to be easily followed and any attachments easily located by the Tribunal and all parties during a hearing.

Electronic evidence in minor civil dispute proceedings

You must print out all electronic evidence.

Sometimes evidence (such as photos, receipts, emails or text messages) may be stored in an electronic device such as a mobile phone, tablet or computer or on a CD, DVD or portable drive. You must provide a printed copy of this evidence with your application if you wish to use and rely on it at the hearing.

The Tribunal will not accept a CD, DVD or portable drive for filing and will not consider evidence provided only in an electronic format.

Electronic evidence in all other types of matters

The Tribunal will accept audio, video and photographs that are on a USB storage device provided it is in one of the following file formats:

Container formats

3GP,[a] ASFAVIDVR-MSFLVMatroska (MKV), MIDI,[b] QuickTime File FormatMP4OggOGMWAVMPEG-2 (ESPSTS, PVA, MP3), AIFF, Raw audio, Raw DV, MXFVOBRMBlu-rayDVD-VideoVCDSVCDCD AudioDVBHEIFAVIF

Audio coding formats

AACAC3ALACAMR,[a] DTS, DV Audio, XMFLACItMACEMODMonkey's AudioMP3Opus,[87] PLSQCP, QDM2/QDMC, RealAudio,[c] SpeexScreamtracker 3/S3MTTAVorbisWavPack,[d] WMA (WMA 1/2, WMA 3 partially)[88]

Digital Camcorder formats

MOD and TOD via USB

Photograph formats

PDN, PNG, JPG, JPEG, JPE, JFIF, EXIF, JXR, WDP, WMP, BMP, DIB, RLE, GIF, TGA, DDS, TIF, TIFF, WEBP

The USB storage device must be accompanied with a signed electronic evidence declaration available here. For more information about the requirements for filing audio, video and photographs, see Practice Direction No. 11 of 2020.

Children and other special witnesses

QCAT may make special arrangements for witness who is a child or a person who QCAT considers would be likely to:

  • be disadvantaged because of their mental, intellectual or physical impairment or a relevant matter
  • suffer severe emotional trauma
  • be disadvantaged because they are intimidated.

QCAT may allow a support person to be with them while they give evidence, obscure their identity or exclude a particular person from the proceeding.