The following is a brief summary of the early stages of an NTCAT proceeding. The relevant rules and procedures are described in greater detail in the NTCAT Rules. The Rules and Forms are designed to be easily understood and all parties to NTCAT proceedings are encouraged to be familiar with them.
An application to NTCAT is made by lodging with the Registry Form 1 initiating application. The same form is used whether the matters is in NTCAT’s original or review jurisdictions. The initiating application sets out in summary terms what the applicant is seeking and why. It must be accompanied by the applicable fee.
An initiating application must be accepted by the Registrar before the NTCAT proceeding is regarded as having commenced. Once a proceeding is commenced, a copy of the initiating application is provided to the applicant, who must serve it on all respondents. Respondents then have an opportunity to file and serve a response (Form 2), which, like the initiating application, is to contain a summary of the grounds (if any) on which the application is opposed.
On a date soon after the response is filed and served, the parties will be required to attend a hearing of the Tribunal. The nature of the hearing will vary with the scope and complexity of the matter. In straightforward or urgent matters, the hearing may be the final hearing. In others, the purpose of the hearing may be for the Tribunal to make directions for the future conduct of the matter, including for the exchange of evidence and other materials in preparation for a final hearing. The parties may also be directed to attend a compulsory conference, at which a member of the Tribunal will attempt to assist the parties to negotiate a settlement of their dispute.