Professional Disciplinary Applications at SACAT
Applications can be made to SACAT when it is alleged that certain professionals act in a way that requires disciplinary action to be taken against them. This may include when it is alleged that the professional has acted unlawfully, improperly, negligently or unfairly in the course of their work.
SACAT is currently conferred jurisdiction under the following Acts:
- Architectural Practice Act 2009
- Building Work Contractors Act 1995
- Conveyancers Act 1994
- Health Practitioners Regulation National Law (South Australia) Act 2010
- Land Agents Act 1994
- Land Valuers Act 1994
- Local Government Act 1999
- Motor Vehicles Act 1959
- Plumbers, Gas Fitters and Electricians Act 1995
- Second-Hand Vehicle Dealers Act 1995
- Survey Act 1992
SACAT Process for Disciplinary Applications
Once an application has been made, and any relevant fee has been paid, the Tribunal will provide a copy of the application, and any documents provided in support, to the person who is the subject of the complaint.
Within 21 days of receiving a copy of the application, the person must provide a response to the Tribunal.
The Tribunal will schedule a directions hearing shortly after the application is received. The directions hearing will usually be held four to six weeks after the complaint is made.
At or after the first directions hearing, the Tribunal may decide that a further directions hearing is needed, refer the matter to a conference, or may decide that the matter is ready to go to a full hearing.
Tribunal Members for Disciplinary Applications
A legally qualified tribunal member will preside over the preliminary hearings held in a matter.
The Tribunal may decide that one or more assessors should sit with the legal member for the full hearing. Assessors are people with expertise in the relevant subject matter who can use that expertise to assist the member to reach the correct decision.
For example, in a matter about a conveyancer, the assessor(s) may be a conveyancer, and a representative of members of the public who have experience in dealing with conveyancers.
Either party involved in proceedings may ask that an assessor assist the member, although the final decision as to whether an assessor is used lies solely with the Tribunal.
Publication of Decisions
Not all decisions made by SACAT are published. The Tribunal will publish reasons for a decision in order to:
- assure members of the public and the relevant profession that appropriate standards are being maintained;
- demonstrate to the practitioner in question the seriousness of their conduct;
- deter the practitioner from any future departures from appropriate standards; and
- deter other members of the profession who might be minded to act in a similar way.
When SACAT chooses to publish orders or reasons for decision it does so on the Australian Legal Information Institute (Austlii).
If a party to proceedings does not wish for a decision to be published, they may raise this with the presiding Tribunal Member either prior to or during the hearing.