Information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who need to resolve a legal problem at NCAT.
NCAT is a place that can help you sort out a wide range of legal problems, such as:
NCAT can make orders to get things fixed, money paid back or problems sorted out. NCAT is a place where you can get a fair go.
View our case types to find out if NCAT can resolve your legal problem.
NCAT is much more informal than court. You do not need a lawyer and are encouraged to speak for yourself.
You and the other party will be asked to tell your side of the story. NCAT will then decide what is fair based on what you and the other party tell the Tribunal Member. NCAT will make orders which everyone has to follow and respect.
NCAT holds hearings at 75 locations across NSW so it is unlikely you will need to travel far for a hearing. Our Registry offices are located in Sydney and regional NSW. Find your closest NCAT Registry Office.
Click on the topic areas below to read frequently asked questions about NCAT
You will need to fill in an application form. Check your case type to find out how to apply and any other information you may need.
The fee will depend on the type of application. If you are a concession card holder you can pay the reduced fee. If you are not in a position to pay the fee you can apply for a fee waiver.
Download an NCAT application form or apply online. You can also lodge your form at any NCAT Registry or your nearest Service NSW.
NCAT will send a 'Notice of Listing' to you and the other parties. The notice includes the time and place for your hearing. It is important you attend the hearing as this is your opportunity to tell your side of the story.
You will need to prepare for your hearing so you can present the best possible case. You can do this by:
Write to NCAT before the hearing day to ask permission for someone to 'represent you'. Include the person's name and explain why you want them to speak for you. NCAT will consider your request and decide whether to approve it.
The following support services are available if you need legal advice:
Yes, bring anyone along for support at the hearing. If they are going to talk for you, make sure you ask the Tribunal Member first.
Tribunal Members are the 'decision makers' of NCAT. They sit at the front of the hearing room. The parties presenting their case sit at tables facing the Member.
Depending on what your case is about, the Tribunal Member may ask you to try conciliation. This means you and the other person talk to each other and try to work out your own solution. A conciliator may be available to help. If you can't reach an agreement, the hearing will go ahead.
At the hearing, the Tribunal Member will ask you to tell your side of the story and show your evidence. They will usually ask questions along the way.
After listening to both sides, the Tribunal Member will make a decision. The written orders will be either given to you straight after the hearing or sent at a later date. Everyone has to follow and respect these orders.
NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)
A meeting between the parties to try and reach an agreement both sides are happy with.
Facts or information you can use to prove or disprove a point.
Where NCAT hears evidence from all people involved in the matter and a decision is made.
A legally binding NCAT decision. It requires a person or business to take an action, for example, pay money or replace something.
Notice of listing
A letter sent to the parties with details about where and when the hearing will take place.
Someone who is directly involved in the matter. This includes the person or organisation who lodged the application and the person or organisation who received a notice of listing.
The person responsible for deciding what is fair and making orders to resolve the problem.
The Aboriginal Legal Service provides legal assistance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in NSW.
NSW Aboriginal Tenants Advice Services provide free advice and advocacy for Aboriginal tenants living in NSW.
Visit the Legal Aid NSW webpage Are you Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and Need Legal Help?
Aboriginal fact sheet - Do you need legal help? (PDF , 593.0 KB) lists services in NSW that give legal information, advice and referrals for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
11 Aug 2023
We acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which we work and we pay respect to the Elders, past, present and future.