ACAT to hear more cases

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SIMON Corbell says the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) will be able to hear and determine civil disputes for claims up to $25,000 under legislation introduced to the Legislative Assembly today.

“The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Amendment Bill 2016 (No 2), also undertakes reform to the tribunal’s presidential structure, including a new requirement that the ACAT President hold qualifications equivalent to those necessary to be magistrate,” Simon said.

“The Bill follows a discussion paper relating to the tribunal prepared by the Justice and Community Safety Directorate earlier this year.

“Bringing a matter before ACAT is cheaper, faster and less formal than court proceedings. It is important when making any changes to ACAT that its objectives and characteristics are preserved.

“The ACAT presently has the power to hear and determine civil dispute claims of $10,000 or less, a limit which has not changed since its inception in 2009.

“An increase to the claims amount to $25,000 or less is designed to ensure that the jurisdiction continues to meet the needs of the Canberra community.

“There has been strong support for increasing the jurisdiction of the tribunal to improve access to justice for Canberrans.”

“The ACAT hears a range of matters, including residential tenancies disputes, discrimination matters, and matters relating to the provision of utilities. The change to the civil dispute jurisdiction will not affect the other jurisdictions of the tribunal.

“The changes ensure the ACAT is ready to undertake its functions into the future for the benefit of the ACT community and feedback from stakeholders about the proposed changes was highly valuable in bringing about the reform.

“I would like to thank all those who responded to the discussion paper for sharing their views on the proposed reforms. By integrating the valuable input of the community, we will continue to have a tribunal that meets the needs of our expanding city.”

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