Step 1: Check that NCAT can review the decision
Step 2: Consider whether you want a lawyer or non-lawyer agent to represent you
Step 3: Apply to NCAT to have the decision reviewed
Step 4: Lodge the application form by the deadline
Step 5: Consider whether to apply for a temporary suspension of the original decision
Step 6: Receive a letter from NCAT and documents from the Children's Guardian
Step 7: Attend a directions hearing
Step 8: Prepare for the hearing
Step 9: Take part in the hearing
Step 10: Receive a letter from NCAT telling you of its decision
Step 11: If you are not satisfied with NCAT's decision, consider whether you have grounds for appeal
The Children's Guardian who made the decision will tell you if your decision can be reviewed. If you are unsure whether NCAT can review a decision, you may need to check the list of specific Acts which authorise NCAT to review a decision.
There is no right in these cases to ask the Children's Guardian to review their decision before coming to NCAT. This is called an internal review.
If you do not agree with the decision you may apply to NCAT to have the decision reviewed within 28 days from the date you receive the decision from the Children's Guardian.
You can either present your own case to NCAT or have a lawyer or non-lawyer agent represent you. You will usually need to be present to give your instructions to your lawyer or agent.
Your lawyer or agent needs to fill out a
Notice of Representation
and submit it to the registry in person or by post. If a non-lawyer agent is representing you, you also need to sign the Notice before it is submitted. In both cases, you have to send a copy of the Notice to the Children's Guardian.
Your agent needs to ask for permission from the Tribunal member the next time the case is listed. You should be present with the agent in case the Tribunal does not allow the agent to appear for you. A lawyer does not need to ask for permission from the member.
To apply to NCAT, you need to fill out an
application for review
form and pay the filing fee.
You will need to include the following information on your application for review form:
your name, address and telephone number.
the name of the government agency that made the decision you want reviewed. In these cases this is the Children's Guardian
the date the original decision was made by the Children's Guardian and their reference number.
the date you received the decision.
a copy of the original decision (this is normally the letter sent to you by the Children's Guardian).
a brief outline of why you think the decision is wrong.
There is a filing fee for this application. View the current fees and charges.
You need to lodge your application to NCAT within 28 days from when you are notified of the decision. You need to post or bring the application form to NCAT registry. You cannot lodge online, by email or fax.
If you want to lodge an application but the deadline has passed, you have to ask the Tribunal for an extension. You will need to give a good reason for not lodging the application within the time allowed. It will be up to NCAT to decide at a directions hearing whether or not to accept a late application.
While you wait for NCAT to review the decision, the decision still applies and you cannot work with children.
You can ask for the agency's decision to be suspended while you are waiting for a review by NCAT. This is called a 'stay'. You can fill out an
application for stay or interim order from the forms page.
You need to explain your reasons for asking for the Children's Guardian's decision to be suspended. NCAT will decide this after also considering the views of the Children's Guardian.
You will receive a letter from NCAT telling you that your application has been received. You will be given a date to come to NCAT for a directions hearing.
You will also receive documents from the government agency that it considers are relevant to the decision.
At the 'directions hearing', a member of NCAT will talk to you and a representative from the Children's Guardian about how the application will be resolved. Normally directions will be made for you to provide evidence and submissions that you wish to rely on at a hearing and for the other parties to provide evidence and submissions in response.
You should look through the documents that the Children's Guardian has provided to you and decide what further information the Tribunal will need when hearing your case.
At the directions hearing you may have been asked to file and serve a statement or affidavit from yourself or other witnesses. Learn more about evidence and witnesses.
You must give a copy of any statements or other documents that you want to rely on to the Tribunal and to the other party by the deadline given to you at the directions hearing.
NCAT's hearings are less formal than court hearings. The application will be heard by a judicial member.
When the Tribunal is reviewing administrative decisions, the respondent (the government agency) will usually give its evidence first. After the agency has given its evidence, the applicant will present his or her evidence. In these cases the Tribunal’s role is to decide whether the administrator made the correct decision.
Find further information about
what happens during a hearing.
In some cases, NCAT member will be able to give you their decision at the end of the hearing. However, in most cases the member will need time to consider the case and will give their decision at a later date. You will usually receive the decision in less than three months. Complex matters may take longer.
NCAT can make various decisions including:
affirming the government agency's decision (stating that the original decision is correct);
reversing the decision completely or in part;
substituting a new decision for the original decision; or
ordering the government agency to reconsider the decision.
You will receive a letter telling you of the decision that NCAT has made.
Applications which are filed in the Community Services Division of NCAT are subject s 126 of NCAT Act which prohibits the publication or broadcasting of the name of (or any other information that may identify) the applicant, witnesses and children the subject of the application. Although this provision does not prevent the Tribunal from publishing a decision which includes the names of a party or witness, the Tribunal’s general practice is not to do so.
For more information about the publication of the name of a party or witness, contact the Registry about the
procedural direction on publication, anonymisation and suppression.
You do not have a right of appeal to the Appeal Panel of NCAT in this type of matter. If you wish to appeal the decision you should seek legal advice. For more information, view
Appeals against decisions made by NCAT Divisions.