NCAT can review decisions made by a government agency about a firearms licence or permit.
Firearm licensing cases are managed through NCAT's Administrative and Equal Opportunity Division.
You should have received a letter from the NSW Firearms Registry telling you of your right to have the decision reviewed by NCAT.
If you are unsure whether your matter can be dealt with by NCAT, please seek legal advice or check the Firearms Act 1996.
Steps in a firearms licence matter
Step by step guide to applying to NCAT for the review of a firearms licensing decision.
The NSW Firearms Registry will tell you if the decision can be reviewed by NCAT.
You must first ask the NSW Firearms Registry to review the decision before coming to NCAT. This is called an 'internal review'. You must request an internal review within 28 days of being told of the decision.
In some cases, you can apply to NCAT for a review of a decision without applying for an internal review first. This is the case when:
a decision is exempt from an internal review; or
an urgent review of the decision is needed to protect your interests
You can ask the NSW Firearms Registry or NCAT if your decision is exempt.
If you do not agree with the internal review decision or you have not received a response from the government agency to your request for an internal review within 21 days, you may apply to NCAT to have the decision reviewed.
You can either present your own case to NCAT or have a lawyer or non-lawyer agent represent you. You will usually need to attend the hearing to give your instructions to your lawyer or agent.
Your lawyer or agent needs complete a Notice of Representation and submit to NCAT 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 NSW Firearms Registry.
Your agent needs to ask for permission to represent you from the Tribunal Member the next time the case is listed. You should attend with the agent in case NCAT does not allow the agent to appear for you. A lawyer does not need to ask for permission from the Member.
Complete the Administrative review application form and pay the relevant application fee.
Include the following information on your application for review form:
- Your name, address and telephone number
- Name of the government agency that made the decision you want reviewed
- Date the original decision and the internal review decision were made
- Copy of the original decision and internal review decision (this is the letter sent to you by the Firearms Registry)
- A brief outline of why you think the decision is wrong.
In most cases, you need to lodge your application to NCAT within 28 days from when you are notified of the internal review decision. You need to post or bring the application form to NCAT Registry. You cannot lodge it online or by email or fax.
If you want to lodge an application but the deadline has passed, you have to ask NCAT 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.
Do you need an urgent stay of the decision?
While you wait for NCAT to review the original decision, the decision still applies and the government agency can implement it.
If you want the original decision to be suspended you need to fill out an Application for a Stay of a Reviewable Decision form. Please post or bring your application to NCAT registry. You cannot fax the application or lodge it via the internet.
You need to explain your reasons for asking for the government agency's decision to be suspended after also considering the views of the government agency.
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 NSW Firearms Registry 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 government agency 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 party to provide evidence and submissions in response.
You should look through the documents that the agency has provided to you and decide what further information the Tribunal will need when hearing your case.
At the directions hearing you may be asked to file and serve a statement or affidavit from yourself or other witnesses. See more information about evidence and witnesses. Other relevant information may be character references from people who know you well and who know the background to your case, medical reports and police reports or statements.
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. In most cases, the application will be heard by a single Tribunal 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, the Tribunal 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.
You will receive a letter telling you of the decision that NCAT has made. 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.
NCAT does not generally order one party to pay the costs of another party's lawyer. Contact the registry to find more information about who has to pay for the costs of bringing a case to NCAT.
Right of appeal
If you are not satisfied with NCAT's decision may have the right of appeal to the Appeal Panel, if you can establish that the Tribunal went wrong either in the procedure it followed, or the way it applied the law to the facts of your case. Learn more about appeals.