Victims recognition payments
NCAT can review a decision about a recognition payment after it has been internally reviewed by the Commissioner of Victims Services.
Steps in a victims recognition case
Step by step guide to applying to NCAT for the review of a decision about victims recognition
Under section 49 of the Act, an applicant for victims support may apply to the Commissioner of Victims Rights for an internal review of a decision made by a delegate of the Commissioner (an assessor). You have 90 days from the day you were given notice of the Assessor’s decision to lodge an application for internal review with Victims Services. The internal review will be undertaken by a Senior Assessor at Victims Services.
Within 42 days (or another time period agreed by you and the Commissioner) after your application for internal review is lodged with Victims Services, you should be notified of:
- the outcome of the internal review
- the reasons for the decision in the internal review
- your right to have a decision about a recognition payment administratively reviewed by NCAT.
Under section 51 of the Act, you can apply to NCAT for an administrative review of the decision about a recognition payment if:
- you have been notified of the outcome of the internal review and are dissatisfied with the outcome.
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 by a Legal Practitioner or Agent and submit it to the NCAT 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. You have to send a copy of the Notice to Victims Services.
Unlike a lawyer, an agent needs to request permission from the Tribunal to represent you and should do so the next time the matter is listed (see section 45 and clause 9 of Schedule 3 of the Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013). You should be present with the agent in case the Tribunal does not allow the agent to appear for you.
To apply to NCAT, you need to fill out an Administrative review application form
You will need to include the following information on your application form:
- your contact details and the details of your representative (if you have one)
- the date the original decision and the internal review decision were made
- a copy of the original decision and internal review decision (this is normally the letter sent to you by Victims Services)
- a brief outline of why you think the internal review decision is wrong.
The respondent on the application is the Commissioner of Victims Rights, represented by Victims Services. The address of the respondent is the address of Victims Services.
Unless the Tribunal orders otherwise, an application for administrative review of a decision about recognition payment suspends (put on hold) the payment until the Tribunal makes a decision about the review (see section 53 of the Act). This means you do not have to lodge an Application for a Stay of a Reviewable Decision form with the Tribunal unless the Tribunal instructs you to do so.
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 unless instructed by NCAT.
If you want to lodge an application but the deadline has passed, you have to ask the Tribunal for an extension of time. You will need to give a good reason for not lodging the application within the time allowed. It will be up to the Tribunal to decide whether or not to accept a late application.
A fee applies for most applications to NCAT. Check the fees and charges to see which fee applies to you, and how to pay the fee.
You will receive a Notice from NCAT telling you the date, time and location to attend a directions hearing.
You will also receive documents from Victims Services that it considers are relevant to the decision.
At the 'directions hearing', a Tribunal Member will talk to you and a representative from Victims Services 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 Victims Services 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, affidavit or other documentation. See more information 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 hearings are less formal than court hearings. Your application will be heard by a single Tribunal Member. A representative of Victims Services will usually give its evidence first. You or your representative may then present the evidence of your case. In these matters, the Tribunal will ‘stand in the shoes’ of the original-decision maker and decide the outcome based on the evidence before it.
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. The Tribunal aims to give their decision within approximately two months of the hearing. Complex matters may take longer.
The Tribunal can make various decisions after its review including:
- affirming the decision of Victims Services (stating that the original decision is correct)
- vary the original decision completely or in part
- substituting a new decision for the original decision
- ordering Victims Services to reconsider the decision.
NCAT registry will inform you when a decision has been made.
Costs are not to be awarded for proceedings involving an administrative review decision for the purposes of the Victims Rights and Support Act 2013 (see clause 13 of Schedule 3 of Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013).
You cannot appeal to the Appeal Panel of NCAT against an administrative review decision made by the Tribunal about a victims recognition payment (see clause 15 of Schedule 3 of Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013).
In some instances there is a right of appeal to the NSW Supreme Court. If you are not sure of your appeal rights you should seek legal advice.