There are some important things to know and prepare before a SACAT hearing.
Before the hearing
It is a good idea to communicate appropriately with the other party prior to and during the hearing.
In many cases, a dispute may be resolved by engaging in polite and reasonable discussions.
This is especially important where you will be in an ongoing relationship with the other party - such as in landlord and tenant disputes.
However, there can be circumstances which make communication unwise or unsafe.
If you cannot attend the hearing
If you cannot attend a hearing, please let us know why as soon as possible.
Depending on what is just and fair to all parties, it may be possible to reschedule.
The Tribunal is more likely to reschedule a hearing if:
- the other party agrees in writing to the hearing being rescheduled
- the request is made a reasonable time before the hearing date
- a good reason is stated and supporting documentation is provided.
If the Tribunal refuses your request, the hearing will go ahead without you.
What should I bring to the hearing?
You should bring everything you will need for the hearing, including:
- all relevant documents (even if you have not previously provided them to the Tribunal
- witnesses who have information relevant to the issues in dispute.
If you have witnesses who will give evidence in person, make sure they can attend on the day of the hearing. If the other side has witnesses, you should think about what you would like to ask them.
Once the hearing is over, you may not be able to reopen the case or provide further evidence.
What should I wear?
While formal clothes are not necessary, you should be dressed in a neat and presentable manner.
SACAT is designed so parties can represent themselves in hearings.
In a tenancy dispute, generally you cannot be represented by a lawyer except with the Tribunal's permission. Permission is only given in exceptional circumstances.
In most other types of cases, you have the right to be represented by legal counsel. If you will be represented by a lawyer, they will need to submit a Notice of Acting form (DOCX, 43.5 KB) to SACAT ahead of your hearing.
Legal practitioners should also familiarise themselves with SACAT requirements.
In some circumstances, you may be allowed to have another person represent you like a partner or relative - contact us about this.
Recovering legal costs
Unless certain circumstances exist, the Tribunal will require that you pay your own legal costs regardless of the outcome of the matter.
The Tribunal may be more likely to allow the recovery of legal costs where:
- the factual or legal issues in dispute are necessarily complicated; or
- where a party has behaved unreasonably in initiating or continuing proceedings or in the way proceedings are conducted.