QCAT is an independent tribunal that seeks to resolve disputes in a manner that is accessible, quick and inexpensive.
Due to the tribunal’s independence, registry staff cannot provide legal advice and you may wish to seek legal advice about your rights.
Obtaining legal advice
There are a number of options for obtaining legal advice:
- Contact the private solicitor of your choice
- Use Queensland Law Society’s Find a Solicitor Service – www.qls.com.au/Find-a-Solicitor/Search
- Access LawRight's Court and Tribunal Services
- Phone Legal Aid Queensland on 1300 65 11 88
- Contact Community Legal Centres Queensland for details of your local community legal centre on 07 3392 0092
For further information on seeking legal advice for your particular matter please refer to the appropriate case type listed below:
LawRight Court and Tribunal Services
Parties with proceedings in QCAT may be able to obtain assistance from LawRight’s Court & Tribunal Services to self-represent or in limited circumstances, be given representation.
LawRight is an independent, non-profit community based legal organisation that coordinates pro bono legal services for individuals and community groups.
LawRight offers appointments with solicitors who provide advice and assistance with the legal tasks necessary to progress tribunal proceedings.
Who can LawRight help?
LawRight helps people who are involved in, or who are considering commencing legal proceedings in the following QCAT areas:
- Reviews of administrative decisions e.g. Blue Card, Disability Worker Screening, Child Safety, Victims Assist, SPER, AHPRA
- Guardianship and administration
- Minor civil disputes e.g. minor debt matters
- Right to information and information privacy
- Occupational regulation (health practitioners only)
- Appeals and reopenings
How LawRight helps people to self-represent
LawRight offers appointments with solicitors who provide advice and assistance with the legal tasks necessary to progress tribunal proceedings, including:
- Advice about whether, and how, to commence or defend proceedings;
- Advice about tribunal processes;
- Assistance to draft documents such as applications, affidavits, submissions and other tribunal forms;
- Assistance with preparing for hearings and appearing in QCAT;
- Advice about appealing tribunal decisions; and
- Advice about other options for the resolution of disputes.
If you are unsure if 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to PO Box 12217, George Street QLD 4003.
To apply for help from LawRight, please complete the application form here. If you are unable to complete the online form, contact LawRight to discuss alternative arrangements.
Community legal centres
A complete list of community legal centres in Queensland is available from Community Legal Centres Queensland, the peak body representing funded and unfunded centres across the state.
You can also inquire about legal advice from these community legal centres.
ADA Law is a community legal centre that assists people with cognitive impairments, or questioned capacity, when they are seeking to make new applications; review, change or revoke QCAT appointed decision makers; or make Enduring Powers of Attorney and Advance Health Directives. They provide free legal advice, advocacy and representation.
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.
The centre’s Queensland Retirement Village and Park Advice Service (QRVPAS) provides information focusing on legal issues in manufactured home parks and retirement villages.
Queensland Advocacy for Inclusion
Queensland Advocacy for Inclusion is an independent, community based systems and legal advocacy organisation for people with disability in Queensland
If you are an enforcement debtor (ie, you are the party stated as owing money), and you need to attend an enforcement hearing at the Brisbane Magistrates Court, you may be eligible for free legal representation from the LawRight Enforcement Hearing Duty Lawyer Service.
Seniors’ Legal and Support Service
The Seniors’ Legal and Support Service offers free support for Queensland seniors concerned about elder abuse and financial exploitation.
Tenants Queensland is a specialist statewide community legal service for tenancy law matters and provides a free tenancy law advice service for residential tenants.
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.
You can also inquire about legal help from these community organisations.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (Qld) Ltd
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (Qld) Ltd provides legal services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Queensland.
Aged and Disability Advocacy Australia
Aged and Disability Advocacy Australia (ADA Australia) is a not-for-profit, independent, community based advocacy and education service that supports and improves the wellbeing of older people and people with disability. ADA Australia can provide advocacy support to the person for their guardianship or administration hearings.
Carers Queensland is the peak body that represents the interests of carers in Queensland. Their Family Support and Advocacy program provides free support, information, advice and representation for adult guardianship and administration matters.
Elder Abuse Prevention Unit
The Elder Abuse Prevention Unit operates under UnitingCare Queensland and receives funding from the Department of Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships. It promotes the right of older people to live free from abuse and provides a telephone information, referral and support service.
All parties involved in a matter before QCAT must represent themselves.
In some cases you are able to be represented by a solicitor or someone else who acts on your behalf, for example an advocate for a person with impaired capacity. In certain circumstances you are automatically able to be represented while in other cases you must apply to QCAT to be represented.
Automatic representation is granted:
- for a child or a person with impaired capacity, or
- if the matter relates to disciplinary proceedings including a review of a disciplinary decision
- if the enabling Act related to the matter allows it.
All other parties must apply to QCAT if they want to be represented. QCAT may agree to a party being represented if:
- the party is a state agency
- the proceeding is likely to involve complex questions of fact or law
- another party is being represented
- all of the parties have agreed to the party being legally represented.
To apply for representation, you can complete and lodge an Application for leave to be represented online* OR you can complete Form 56 - Application for leave to be represented .
*Completing this form online will save you time and you won't need to lodge a hard copy.
What registry staff can and cannot do
The role of QCAT's registry is to administer your case and provide general advice.
Registry staff can:
- answer questions about QCAT processes
- based on the information you provide, answer questions and let you know about the different types of QCAT forms that may be available for you to consider
- provide you with information and support about how to lodge an application
- request on your behalf access to the QCAT register of proceedings (a publicly available list of QCAT cases) or records 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 (eg 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 matter – this depends on your individual case.