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QCAT minor claims and reviews

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) is considered the successor to Queensland’s small claims court and has the authority to review administrative decisions in a wide range of matters.

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Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal

QCAT’s purpose is to provide independent, efficient, accessible, and inexpensive dispute resolution services, including mediation, hearings, and compulsory conferences.

QCAT’s power is granted by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld) (the Act). For QCAT to be able to review a decision, the legislation under which the original decision was made must specify that administrative review is available via QCAT.

Applications may be made by parties including individuals, companies, government departments and certain disciplinary boards.

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QCAT Lawyers

Types of disputes heard by QCAT

QCAT has original, review and appellate jurisdiction. This allows the Tribunal to hear a case for the first time, or hear reviews and appeals against decisions made by an entity under an Act.

It makes decisions about broad and diverse matters, including:

  • adult guardianship;
  • motor vehicle disputes;
  • anti-discrimination;
  • building disputes;
  • children and young people;
  • consumer and trader disputes;
  • civil disputes;
  • residential tenancy;
  • retail shop leases; and
  • dividing fence and tree disputes.

Application forms for a QCAT hearing are available on the Tribunal’s website. The application must be in the prescribed form, list the reasons for the application, and be filed within 28 days of the decision (unless an extension is granted or a different period is provided for).

Types of Estate and Wills Disputes We Can Help With
Types of Estate and Wills Disputes We Can Help With
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How we can help

If you are uncertain about what type of matter your dispute relates to, you are unsure what your legal rights and obligations are, or you want to ensure that you complete the required form correctly, you should seek legal advice before applying to QCAT.

At Gibbs Wright Litigation Lawyers, we can assist you with your application, legal argument, organising your evidence and, in more complicated matters, appearing and arguing at a hearing on your behalf.


It is generally expected that you will represent yourself at your QCAT proceeding. However, in some circumstances, you may be able to apply to QCAT to have someone else represent you, such as a solicitor or an advocate.

QCAT may allow a party to have representation at the proceeding in circumstances such as when:

  • the party is a State agency;
  • the proceeding may involve complex questions of fact or law;
  • another party to the proceeding has representation; or
  • all parties to the proceeding have agreed to that party having legal representation.

In some circumstances, QCAT will routinely allow a party to be represented, such as when:

  • the party is a child or a person with impaired capacity;
  • the matter relates to a disciplinary action; or
  • the law otherwise allows the party to be represented.

Even if you are not allowed legal representation at the actual hearing, you are still allowed to obtain legal advice prior to the hearing. At Gibbs Wright, we can provide advice and assistance during any stage of your QCAT matter.

Appealing a QCAT decision

A party can appeal a QCAT decision to the Court of Appeal at the Supreme Court within 28 days of the decision. The Court can decide an appeal on a question of law or fact, or both. After reviewing a decision, the Court can:

  • confirm or amend the decision;
  • set aside the decision and substitute its own decision;
  • set aside the decision and order the matter to be returned to QCAT for reconsideration, with directions, and with or without additional evidence; or
  • make any other order it considers appropriate.
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Your team

Your QCAT disputes team 

Melany Dowse


Rebekka Hallberg

Mitchell Caldwell

Litigation solicitor

Mitchell Caldwell

Special CounSEL

Melany Dowse

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Why us

Why choose Gibbs Wright Litigation Lawyers

If you have a minor claim or want to review a decision, we can assist by drafting written arguments and preparing your evidence to maximise your prospects of success. In more complicated or expensive matters, we may be able to represent you at a QCAT hearing.

Whether your matter is big or small, Gibbs Wright Litigation Lawyers have the skills and experience required to do the job — and do it well.

Contact us today for a free initial consultation with one of our experienced litigation lawyers to explore your legal options.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are QCAT decisions legally binding?

Yes. All QCAT decisions and agreements are legally binding and enforceable. If you have had a decision made against you, it is important that you comply with the order made by the Tribunal. However, if you disagree with the decision, you may be able to appeal it.

Do I have to engage a lawyer for QCAT proceedings?

Engaging a lawyer is not compulsory but when a party is unsuccessful at QCAT, it could be because the party:

• commenced their matter under the area;
• did not know what legal options were available; or
• did not get help in putting together their evidence and arguments.

This is why a party should seek legal advice prior to lodging a QCAT application. At Gibbs Wright our lawyers can offer advice to ensure the best chance of a favourable result at QCAT. Call us for no-obligation, confidential consultation.

Where will my QCAT matter be heard?

If you live near Brisbane, the matter is likely to be heard in QCAT offices in the city. If you live in regional Queensland, the matter may be heard at a local Magistrates Court. Some matters may also be heard via phone or teleconferencing.

What is the Gibbs Wright process?

At Gibbs Wright, we work closely with you to determine the best plan for your particular circumstances, taking into account your finances and expectations.
We will walk you through each step of the journey, which begins with a free initial discussion to assess the strength of your case and your legal options.
We will request key documents to assess this. If we determine that we can help you, we will provide an estimate of fees, which will depend on the expected cost and complexity of the matter.

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