Leave hearings

At a leave hearing, NCAT decides whether to give permission (leave) for a declined anti-discrimination complaint to go ahead.

Anti-discrimination cases are managed through NCAT's Administrative and Equal Opportunity Division.

Your complaint is declined

If the Anti-Discrimination Board has declined your complaint, you can ask the President of the Anti-Discrimination Board to refer the complaint to NCAT.  Refer to the Anti-Discrimination NSW website for details on the complaint process.

When a declined complaint is referred to NCAT, the matter is listed for a 'leave hearing'. A Tribunal Member will then decide whether to give permission (leave) for your complaint to go ahead.

Orders NCAT can make

NCAT will make one of the following orders in an anti-discrimination leave hearing.


If the Member grants permission for your complaint to proceed, you will be given a date for a first case conference. Refer to the steps in an anti-discrimination complaint.


If  the Tribunal Member refuses permission, your complaint will be dismissed. 

Steps in an anti-discrimination leave hearing

Step by step guide to a leave hearing to consider whether your complaint should go ahead

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You, and the other parties, will receive a letter from NCAT to advise that the case has been listed for a leave hearing in four to six weeks' time. At this hearing, the Tribunal will decide whether to give you permission to go ahead with your complaint. The respondent will be asked to come to the leave hearing as well. A Tribunal Member will hear the application.

The Tribunal Member will generally base their decision on the documents in the ‘President's Report’ (the report the President of the Anti-Discrimination Board sent to NCAT) and on what you and the other party say at the leave hearing. 


The test NCAT will apply is whether it is fair and just for the complaint to go ahead. One relevant factor is how likely it is that the complaint will succeed if it goes to a full hearing.

Leave hearings are scheduled for one hour. You will be given an opportunity to say why your complaint should go ahead. the Tribunal Member will then hear from the other party. You will then have an opportunity to respond.

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.


The Tribunal Member will either give permission for the complaint to go ahead or refuse permission. If the Member refuses permission the complaint will be dismissed.


If the Tribunal Member gives permission for the complaint to go ahead, you will be given a date for a first case conference. 


The decision to grant or refuse leave cannot be appealed to NCAT's Appeal Panel. You may be able to commence an action in the NSW Supreme Court. You should obtain legal advice if you are considering this.

Organisations that can help

NCAT cannot provide legal advice. Find out how we can and cannot assist. Below are some organisations that can provide help or advice about your case.

Last updated:

11 Aug 2023

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