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We have many individuals and businesses who contact us at LegalVision looking for assistance with resolving their commercial dispute at NCAT, but unfortunately, you cannot have a lawyer as your representative without the permission of the Tribunal. This article will explore how this permission can be granted and in what circumstances permission is not required.

What is NCAT?

NCAT stands for the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal which is a tribunal service that deals with a range of matters including tenancy issues, home building disputes and consumer claims.

You will need to complete and lodge an application to start proceedings with NCAT. The application may result in a hearing before a Tribunal Member, but your matter may also be resolved without a hearing through the use of preliminary conferences, conciliation and mediation.

NCAT encourages parties to represent themselves in hearings or otherwise to reduce costs and to provide an accessible and efficient way to resolve your dispute. However, it may be possible to have a representative to present your case for you. NCAT may give permission or “grant leave” once a request for representation has been made.

How Do I Make a Request for Representation?

A request to be represented must be in writing and set out the following information:

  • The file number and parties’ names;
  • The reason why you would like to be represented;
  • The name and occupation of your proposed representative; and
  • A statement that your proposed representative has your permission to make decisions without you that are binding.

You can apply before your matter is heard or you can apply at the hearing but the Tribunal Member will decide on the day whether you can be represented.

Seeking Permission for a Lawyer to Represent You

The Tribunal will typically give permission in the following circumstances:

  • The other party is a lawyer or will be represented by a lawyer;
  • The other party is a government agency;
  • The Tribunal believes you will be at a disadvantage if you are not represented at the hearing; or
  • The Tribunal believes you should be represented because there will be complex issues of law or fact in the proceedings.

Can Someone Other than a Lawyer Represent Me?

Yes! Your representative could also be a real estate agent if you are a landlord or an advocate, friend or family member that you have authorised to act and make decisions on your behalf. You might be asking: What will the Tribunal consider when making their decision to allow someone other than a lawyer to represent me?

The Tribunal will consider if your proposed representative:

  • Has sufficient knowledge of the issues to represent you effectively;
  • Can deal fairly and honestly with the Tribunal; and
  • Has permission to make decisions on your behalf.

Represented without Permission

There are limited circumstances when permission of the Tribunal is not required to be represented. These include where:

  • You have been granted legal assistance under the Fair Trading Act 1987 (NSW);
  • You are a party to proceedings under the Retail Leases Act 1994 (NSW); or
  • You are a resident of a retirement village and your representative is a resident or the Residents Committee according to law.
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