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When you resolve a dispute through the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT), the decision made by the tribunal is final and the parties must follow it. Therefore, you can expect that the debtor to the dispute will comply with the decision made by the tribunal. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes you resolve a conflict through the tribunal, and the debtor does not comply with the orders QCAT makes. If you find yourself in this situation, a good first step is to send a letter of demand. In this article, we set out the options available to you when the debtor does not comply with a QCAT decision.

Register the QCAT Decision in the Magistrates Court

The first step in enforcing a tribunal decision is registering it in the Magistrates Court. This involves filing an affidavit and a copy of the tribunal order. An affidavit is a sworn document that confirms that the orders of the tribunal have not already been complied with. Once you register the tribunal decision at the Magistrates Court, you can enforce it in the same way parties enforce judgments made by the Magistrates Court.

Statement of Financial Position

Once you have filed the tribunal decision in the Magistrates Court, you can send the debtor a written notice to complete a statement of financial position. As the name suggests, you can use a statement of financial position to gain more information about the debtor’s assets and liabilities. They are useful when you are seeking to enforce a monetary order.

A statement of financial position can help you decide how to enforce the decision.  It can also assist you to decide whether to apply for an enforcement warrant from the Magistrates Court.

If the debtor does not comply or you are not satisfied with the information provided, you can apply for an enforcement hearing. At an enforcement hearing, you will be able to ask questions about the debtor’s assets and liabilities. This will allow you to gain a better understanding of their financial position.

Enforcement Warrant

Another avenue available when you are seeking to enforce a QCAT decision is to apply for an enforcement warrant from the Magistrates Court. An enforcement warrant directs the debtor to take a particular action.

The content and nature of the enforcement warrant will vary, depending on your case. Enforcement warrants that the court can issue include:

  • seizure and sale of property;
  • redirection of debt;
  • regular redirections from financial institutions;
  • redirection of earnings; and
  • payment by installments.

You must file all the relevant forms at the courthouse where you registered the tribunal decision. You do not have to notify the debtor before filing an enforcement warrant and the court can issue it without a formal hearing.

Once the court issues the enforcement warrant, you must write the sheriff or deputy registrar a letter of instructions explaining what you want them to do to enforce the judgment.

Renewal of the QCAT Decision

A debtor can apply for a renewal of the QCAT decision when:

  • it is not possible for the debtor to comply with the QCAT decision; or
  • there are issues with interpretation of the decision.

They must apply for renewal within 28 days of:

  • the notice of the final decision; or
  • the date they were given the reasoning, if they are renewing due to issues with the reasoning.

The tribunal may make the same decision or make a new decision.

LegalVision cannot provide legal assistance with this topic. We recommend you contact your local law society.


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