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Attorney General involved in NCAT jurisdiction

9 April 2018

Parties to a tenancies dispute residing in different states can currently have their cases heard at NCAT. However REINSW investigations have found out that the Attorney General will be involved in a special NCAT hearing about a case involving this issue on 12 April 2018.

There will be five judges involved in the hearing which is running in parallel with the Burns v Corbett case which was heard in December 2017. A decision was reserved on last year’s case and no indication has been given on when a verdict will be made.

The NCAT President has reiterated that they will continue to hear matters involving out of state parties to a tenancies dispute until a decision is made by the High Court.

No costs incurred for moving courts

If a Tribunal member feels an NCAT case is not covered by the jurisdiction and it should go to another court, there is an agreement that the parties won’t incur increased fees to go to a new court.

When did this issue start?

The saga originally began in February 2017 when the Court of Appeal declared NCAT, which handles disputes between tenants and landlords, had no jurisdiction if one or more of the parties lives in another state. 

As a result, interstate parties had to commence proceedings in the Local or District Court after NCAT declined to hear the matter due to ‘federal diversity jurisdiction’.

REINSW strongly lobbied the government to find a resolution and suggested replicating legislation in other states where the problems created by the NSW legislation does not exist.