Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions about the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

To suggest a frequently asked question (FAQ) please email

Frequently Asked Questions - general

Can registry staff give advice and help me with my application?

Our staff are here to provide you with impartial, quality procedural advice.

This means we offer general tribunal process information, such as applicant and respondent steps, dispute resolution options, details of QCAT services and how to seek legal advice on your matter.

We cannot provide advice on rights and responsibilities, how you should classify your matter or if you will be successful in your claim. Information we can provide on your individual issue is limited to QCAT procedures as they apply to your matter, such as explaining and answering general questions about how QCAT works and its processes, deliver procedural information based on the details provided and specifying contact details of legal advice and assistance.

We cannot provide legal advice, this includes advising on:

  • certain form inputs, such as residential tenancy application type
  • which  form you should choose
  • whether you should move forward with your matter based on outcomes from similar matters (precedents).

What if I am hearing impaired?

QCAT hearing rooms are equipped with hearing loops to assist those with a hearing aid. If you require this service for your proceeding, or you have a hearing impairment but do not have a hearing aid, please advise your Case Manager or the QCAT registry via

Do I need to let QCAT know if I change my address or other contact details?

It is important that QCAT has your correct contact details. Contact the registry to let them know any changes as soon as they happen.

What can I do if I have an urgent situation?

QCAT has special procedures to assist with urgent applications.

Are there any time limits?

Time limits may apply to when you need to lodge your application. For example, generally if you are seeking a review of a decision most applications must be lodged within 28 days of receiving the notice of decision.

Time limits may be set out in the QCAT Act, an enabling Act, the Limitation of Actions Act 1974, or may be under the common law.

If you do not know the time limit for when you need to lodge your application, you should seek independent legal advice.

Why do I have to supply more than one copy of my application and supporting documents to QCAT?

A number of copies of your application and supporting documents may be required for certain matter types. Each copy received by QCAT is processed and stamped with an official QCAT stamp, called a seal. One copy is kept on your file and the other copies, where required, are returned to you for delivering to other parties. For some matter types QCAT may deliver the copies to the other party.

If a document is filed electronically in accordance with Practice Direction No 1 of 2016, only one copy of the document will need to be provided to the Tribunal at the time of filling. The Tribunal may later direct you to provide further copies of the documents filed if necessary.

What is 'service' of documents? How do I do it?

Service of documents refers to personally delivering documents to a person or business (such as a copy of an application you have made about them). How service is required to take place may vary between different types of applications. For example, you are not required to serve a copy of your application to the other party in a residential tenancy matter. However, you are required to serve the other party with a sealed copy of the application after it has been lodged with QCAT and stamped with the QCAT seal (the official QCAT stamp) in most other matters.

Generally, personal service will be required, which means you must personally give the document to the other person. If you are required to serve a document on a company or business, you may be permitted to post the document. For more information read the Practice direction - Service of documents (PDF, 147.1 KB) and Practice Direction 2014/2;Service of QCAT proceedings in Australia outside Queensland. (PDF, 124.6 KB)

Can QCAT reject my application?

The Principal Registrar may reject an application. For example, if the application is made by a person who is not authorised to make the application or if the application is made after a time limit has expired.  The person who made the application will be contacted by the registry who will explain the reasons why the application was rejected.  No fee is charged if this happens.

You can apply to QCAT to have the decision to reject your application reviewed.  No fee is charged to review the decision rejecting your application.  The tribunal can decide to accept the application, accept it on certain conditions or confirm that the application should be rejected.  Once the tribunal has made the decision about whether to accept or reject the application there is no further right of appeal of that decision.

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Can I withdraw my application?

Applications can be withdrawn for a number of reasons.

To withdraw an application or referral complete you can lodge a notice of withdrawal of application or referral online.

Read more at Withdrawing an application.

Can I settle with the other party outside of the QCAT proceedings?

If you settle the matter with the other parties outside of a directions hearing, mediation, compulsory conference or hearing then all parties must record the agreement in writing. You should also complete and lodge Application for decision order by consent (PDF, 457.4 KB).

Can my matter be referred to a court?

In certain situations a matter may be transferred from QCAT to a court. The courts can also transfer a matter to QCAT.

Can QCAT protect my privacy during the proceedings?

See Confidentiality in QCAT proceedings

What if the other party in my dispute claims not to have been served with the application?

Where a particular matter type requires that the application and supporting documents be delivered to (served) another party, QCAT is unable to proceed with the case if there is no proof that the other party has received a copy of the application. Please contact the registry to discuss what you can do next. However, if other party’s solicitor has accepted and signed to receive the application on their behalf, the documents are considered served.

Can I have an extension of time to apply or respond to a dispute?

You should first seek the consent of the other party. Generally QCAT will not grant an extension of time unless the other party has consented to it.

You can complete your form Form 42 - Application to extend or shorten a time limit or for waiver of compliance online.

OR you can complete and lodge  Form 42 - Application to extend or shorten a time limit or for waiver of compliance (PDF, 738.1 KB).

Can I include another person in my dispute?

If you believe it is necessary for an additional person to be involved in your dispute you can apply to QCAT. If QCAT agrees that the additional party is necessary to effectively resolve the dispute the application may be granted. To apply to include another person as a party, complete and lodge Form 40 - Application for miscellaneous matters.

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When I request a review of a decision does that stop the order, or instructions, of the original decision?

No the original order still stands unless you apply to QCAT for a stay, or temporary stop, for the decision. This will only be agreed to in special circumstances. Not all matter types allow you to apply for a stay of a decision.

Can I ask a decision-maker to give me a copy of the decision they made so that I can request a review by QCAT?

The QCAT Act requires decision-makers whose decisions are reviewed by QCAT to give a written notice of the decision to each person who is entitled to ask that the decision be reviewed. The notice will outline the reasons for the decision and the findings that led to the decision, including the evidence or other material that was considered. If you have not already been given a copy of the written reasons, you may request the original decision maker to give you a copy.

You must make your request in writing within 14 days after the decision was made. The decision-maker must provide the statement of reasons within a reasonable time, or within 28 days after receiving your request.

Do I have to attend the proceedings in person?

Parties have the right to attend a directions hearing, mediation, compulsory conference or hearing in person. However parties can also apply to attend via telephone or videoconferencing in appropriate situations. You can apply to attend by telephone online. Completing this form online will save you time and you won't need to lodge a hard copy.

OR you can complete and lodge an Application for attendence at hearing, compulsory conference or mediation by remote conferencing (PDF, 531.5 KB).

In some cases QCAT members will travel throughout the state to allow clients the opportunity to attend the hearing in person where they live. Magistrates in regional areas can also act as members of QCAT providing easy access to clients in regional areas.

In certain situations the members may decide that they have enough information to make a decision and do not require any party to attend the final hearing.  This is known as making a decision “on the papers”.

What if I can't attend the proceedings on the day?

If you cannot attend a directions hearing, mediation or compulsory conference on the day you must let QCAT know as soon as possible. Please contact the QCAT registry at the location where your proceeding is being held as specified in your notice.

If you cannot attend a hearing the tribunal may continue with the hearing and make decisions in your absence. If there is a good reason why you cannot come to the hearing, you could ask the tribunal for permission for someone to come on your behalf, by completing and lodging an Application for leave to be represented online.

OR you can complete and lodge an Application for leave to be represented (PDF, 729.8 KB).

Alternatively you may ask for the hearing to be moved to another date. Or you may apply to attend the hearing by remote conferencing by completing and lodging an Application for attendence at hearing, compulsory conference or mediation by remote conferencing (PDF, 531.5 KB).

Can I force a person to attend a hearing or to bring certain documents that I wish to use as evidence?

See Evidence and witnesses

Can I ask QCAT for a written copy of their decision?

See QCAT decisions

What if I am unhappy with QCAT's decision?

Clients may appeal most QCAT matters. However different processes and rights of appeal apply depending on the type of matter and who has made the decision.

Can QCAT make me pay the other parties' costs?

In some circumstances QCAT may make a decision awarding costs.

What do I do if the other party refuses to follow QCAT's decision?

When a party is unable to or does not comply with the QCAT decision, another party involved in the proceedings can apply for a renewal of the QCAT decision or for the decision to be enforced.

Can I apply for a matter to be reopened?

Reopenings occur when an applicant had a reasonable excuse for not attending a hearing or significant evidence has arisen that wasn’t available at the hearing.

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