On the hearing day

What happens at the hearing?

A hearing is where a Tribunal Member listens to both sides of the case, considers the evidence presented and then makes a legally binding order.

The Tribunal Member will sit at the front of the hearing room facing the parties. Parties sit at tables facing the Member. NCAT hearings are generally sound recorded so there is an accurate record of what is said.

Most NCAT hearings are open to the public. Be prepared to have other people in the hearing room when you are presenting your case. People such as other parties waiting for their hearing, or friends and family will sit at the back of the room.  Other Tribunal Members, Conciliators, NCAT staff members and security officers may also be present.

The Tribunal Member will ask questions about your application, and both parties show their evidence and ask questions of each other. The Tribunal Member may ask that evidence is sworn or affirmed. After each party has given their evidence, the Tribunal Member will make a decision based on the evidence and in accordance with the law.

Hearings may be sound recorded

NCAT hearings are generally sound recorded. Learn more about sound recordings and transcripts.

Tribunal Members 

Tribunal Members are independent statutory officers who hear and determine NCAT applications in accordance with the law and the evidence presented.

The Tribunal Member will sit at the front of the hearing room. The parties presenting their case sit facing the Member at tables. 

How to address the Member

If the Member's name is displayed on the table in front of you, you may address them as 'Mr' or 'Ms' and their surname. Otherwise you may call them 'Sir' or 'Madam'.

If the Member is the President or a Judge you must address them as 'Your Honour'.

Presenting your case 

The Tribunal Member will explain what happens at the hearing. The applicant will usually be asked to speak first, followed by the respondent. You may be asked to take an oath or affirmation as a formal promise to tell the truth.  The Member will usually ask questions along the way.

When it is your turn, it is important that you keep your statements concise and relevant to the hearing. The Tribunal Member may ask you to move on to your next point if you are repeating yourself, if the point you are making is not helping to clarify the issues in dispute, or if you are providing evidence that is not relevant.

How is a decision made? 

The Tribunal Member will generally make their decision at the hearing, after the parties have presented their evidence.

Reserved decisions

When a matter involves complicated legal arguments, the Tribunal Member may need to 'reserve' their decision. This means that a decision is not made immediately after the hearing. Instead the Tribunal Member will take time to review the evidence and relevant legislation before making their decision at a later date.

When finalised, the reserved decision is provided to the parties in written form and contains the orders and the Tribunal Member's reasons for the decision.

Hearing checklist

Checklist icon Be concise and only talk about the facts relevant to the hearing.

Checklist icon Listen carefully to the Tribunal Member and don't interrupt. 

Checklist icon Be polite and respectful. Don't make personal comments about the other party or the Tribunal Member, no matter how strongly you feel.

Checklist icon Tell the truth and be accurate.  If you are giving evidence you may be asked to take an oath or affirmation.

Checklist icon Ask questions if you don't understand something or if you are unsure.

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