Proceedings in the State Administrative Tribunal
The State Administrative Tribunal (or “SAT”) deals with a wide range of administrative, commercial and personal matters, including building disputes, guardianship and administration issues, review of government decisions, residential and commercial tenancy disputes, and town planning and compensation issues.
Douglas Cheveralls Lawyers regularly provides advice about these types of matters, and also provides representation in the State Administrative Tribunal and in appeals from a decision of the State Administrative Tribunal.
What are the powers of the State Administrative Tribunal?
The powers and functions of the State Administrative Tribunal come from the State Administrative Tribunal Act 2004 (WA), and other specific legislation.
An applicant may only apply to the State Administrative Tribunal if the legislation gives the Tribunal the power to make a decision on the matter that is subject of the application. Examples include the Guardianship and Administration Act 1990 (WA) and the Building Services (Complaint Resolution and Administration) Act 2011 (WA). For a full list of the legislation, see this link: List of enabling legislation (justice.wa.gov.au).
What are the objectives of the State Administrative Tribunal?
The main objectives of the State Administrative Tribunal are to:
- achieve the resolution of questions, complaints or disputes, and make or review decisions, fairly and according to the substantial merits of the case;
- act as speedily and with as little formality and technicality as is practicable, and minimise the costs to parties; and
- make appropriate use of the knowledge and experience of SAT members.
Decisions in the State Administrative Tribunal are made by Members who have a wide range of knowledge and experience. While many of the Members are legally trained, many of the Members have other specific areas of knowledge, such as town planning, engineering and building, and mental health. This facilitates informal and practical resolutions of disputes.
What is the difference between the State Administrative Tribunal and a court?
The State Administrative Tribunal is different to the courts in a number of respects, in particular:
- The State Administrative Tribunal is less formal than a court. Its procedures are flexible, and it does not have strict rules of evidence that must be complied with. For examples of usual procedural orders that may be made in the State Administrative Tribunal, see this link: standard_orders1.pdf (justice.wa.gov.au).
- Generally, parties before the State Administrative Tribunal bear their own costs. The Tribunal can order that one party pay another party’s costs, but these costs orders are rare. On the other hand, in a court, the usual order is that the unsuccessful party pay a portion of the successful party’s legal costs.
In saying that, there are a number of similarities. For example, a person may engage a legal practitioner to represent them in both the State Administrative Tribunal and in a court. Both the State Administrative Tribunal and a court encourage mediation and settlement, and ultimately involve a decision being made by a decision maker if the matter is not settled. Lodgment of documents in the State Administrative Tribunal and a court is through the same electronic court portal.
How can Douglas Cheveralls Lawyers help?
Douglas Cheveralls Lawyers may:
- provide advice about whether a matter falls within the power of the State Administrative Tribunal (and, if not, advice about other options that may be available);
- provide advice about the merits of a claim in the State Administrative Tribunal;
- provide advice about the procedure for a matter in the State Administrative Tribunal;
- provide representation in any matter in the State Administrative Tribunal;
- provide advice about, and representation in, an appeal of a decision of the State Administrative Tribunal.
Douglas Cheveralls Lawyers is happy to provide different levels of involvement, depending on your needs.
Douglas Cheveralls Lawyers may act on your behalf in the State Administrative Tribunal, which includes preparing all of the documents to be relied upon in the Tribunal, dealing with all communications with the other side’s lawyer, and attending all of the hearings on your behalf.
Alternatively, if you would like to minimise costs, you may decide to engage Douglas Cheveralls Lawyers on an ad hoc basis, which would involve providing advice “behind the scenes” about specific issues and questions.
If you or someone you know wants more information or needs held or advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us.