Section 14: NSW Tribunals

The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal

The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) was established on 1 January 2014 to consolidate 22 former tribunals into a single point of access for specialist tribunals in NSW. An inquiry by the Legislative Council's Standing Committee on Law and Justice recommended that tribunals be consolidated where appropriate to improve access to justice for all tribunal users, with the former NSW tribunal system described as 'complex and bewildering'.

NCAT deals with a broad and diverse range of matters - from tenancy issues and building works, to decisions on guardianship and administrative review of government decisions - across its four divisions:

  • the Administrative and Equal Opportunity Division reviews administrative decisions made by NSW Government agencies and resolves discrimination matters.
  • the Consumer and Commercial Division resolves a wide range of everyday disputes such as tenancy and other residential property issues, and disputes about the supply of goods and services.
  • the Guardianship Division determines applications about people with a decision-making disability and who may require a legally appointed substitute decision maker.
  • the Occupational Division reviews decisions by government agencies about licensing and complaints concerning professional conduct and discipline.

In certain circumstances parties can appeal a decision to NCAT's Internal Appeal Panel. Internal appeals can be made on a question of law. An application can only be made about the merits of a decision if the Appeal Panel gives permission. Some Division decisions are not subject to an internal appeal and may be appealed directly to the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal.

Industrial Relations Commission

The Industrial Relations Commission regulates industrial and workplace issues in New South Wales. It is established under the Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW). The Industrial Relations Commission has both administrative and judicial functions, which gives it a dual nature. Its administrative functions are exercised by Commissioners. These administrative functions include resolving industrial disputes, making awards and approving enterprise agreements. In the exercise of its administrative functions, the IRC is a type of tribunal. For information on the judicial functions of the Commission, see NSW specialist courts

Workers Compensation Commission

The Workers Compensation Commission is a tribunal established under the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 (NSW) to resolve workers compensation disputes between injured workers and employers.

Dust Disease Tribunal 

A legal court that hears claims for damages from sufferers of dust-related diseases, including those linked to asbestos exposure, and from dependants of sufferers who have died.

Mental Health Review Tribunal

A specialist quasi-judicial body constituted under the Mental Health Act 2007. It has a wide range of powers that enable it to conduct mental health inquiries, make and review orders, and to hear some appeals, about the treatment and care of people with a mental illness.

NSW Tribunals