Attending in person
- Ensure you arrive at least 15 minutes before the start time of your hearing.
- There may be several matters listed at the one time, in which case you should wait until a tribunal officer announces your matter.
- The presiding tribunal member will sit at the front of the hearing room facing the parties. Parties sit at the tables facing the member. Hearings are sound recorded so there is an accurate record of what is said.
- At the commencement of the hearing, the tribunal member will introduce themselves and ask all parties to introduce themselves.
- You should address the tribunal member simply by calling them ‘Mr’, ‘Ms’ or ‘Dr’ and then using their surname (which will be on a name plate in front of the tribunal member).
- There is no need for parties to stand while addressing the tribunal member.
During the hearing
By the time of the hearing, the parties will have exchanged and provided to NTCAT the evidence they intend relying upon. Each party should bring copies of that material (hard or electronic) to the hearing for reference. Parties should also ensure that they have prepared for the hearing by making notes about matters they wish to emphasise. It will often assist the tribunal member if a party can supply a brief chronology of key events in date order.
The tribunal member will manage the hearing and ensure that each party is given the opportunity to present their case and respond to the other party’s submissions.
The person who has made the application will usually be asked to present their case first and the other party will then be given the opportunity to respond.
At a hearing NTCAT may inform itself in any way it considers appropriate and is not bound by the rules of evidence. This means the tribunal member may ask questions to clarify issues or obtain all the information necessary to make a fully informed decision. The tribunal member may also rely on evidence other than evidence put forward by the parties (but only after giving the parties the opportunity to respond to such evidence).
The length of the hearing will depend on the complexity of the matter.
How to behave during the hearing
NTCAT acts with as little formality and technicality as possible; however, parties are asked to act with respect and courtesy towards the tribunal member and one another.
At NTCAT hearings parties should:
- be organised and ensure they have copies (hard or electronic) of all the evidence they and the other party intend to rely upon
- be concise and talk only about the facts relevant to the hearing
- be polite and respectful to the tribunal member, to the other party, and to any witnesses
- listen carefully and not interrupt the tribunal member or the other party
- tell the truth and be accurate
- ask questions if they do not understand something