ACAT – Civil Disputes Application Guide
ACAT applications can be printed off and filled out by hand, or filled out in your web browser/pdf editor on your computer and printed off. A list of the applications is available at the following link:
The first step is to check which category your dispute falls under.
Civil Disputes Applications
There are 8 different types of civil disputes that ACAT can assist you with:
- Where an Application is stated to be a Civil Dispute Application by an authorising law.
- Contract Disputes
- If you and another person are having a disagreement over the terms of a contract, ACAT may be able to help you.
- Damages Application
- If another party’s actions have caused damage to your property or goods, ACAT may be able to help you with an application to recover damages.
- Debt Application
- If another party is indebted to you, you can file an application with ACAT to assist you in recovering that debt. ACAT can also assist with filing to recover interest owed on that debt.
- Goods Application
- If you are looking for the recovery of the value of particular goods or services, or for the provision of particular goods or services, or for damages caused by the detention of goods, ACAT may be able to assist you.
- Nuisance Application
- A nuisance is either an interference either with your land, or with the enjoyment of your land. For example, an overflow from a neighbour’s burst pipe flows onto your property.
- In this example, you could apply to ACAT for an order requiring the neighbour to repair the burst pipe.
- You could also apply to ACAT for an order requiring your neighbour to compensate you for the costs of cleaning up the overflow.
- (Note: Example adapted from ACAT)
- Trespass Application
- A trespass occurs if someone has entered your land uninvited, and without your authorisation or permission.
- If a person is on your land, and refuses to leave after being told to do so, that person is also trespassing.
- ACAT can provide orders for dealing with trespass, such as an order requiring a squatter to leave your land, or compensation orders for damages caused by a squatter.
- Application for a Debt Declaration
- ACAT can make a declaration which states the amount, or maximum amount, of money that you owe to someone else.
- ACAT can also make an order declaring that you do not owe any debt to the other party.
However, your first step before filing an application with ACAT is to provide the other party with a letter of demand.
Letter of Demand.
Before filling out your application, ACAT recommends that you provide another party with a letter of demand. A letter of demand is a letter in which you let the other party know:
- What your dispute is about;
- How you’d like the dispute to be resolved; and
- A timeline in which you’d like a response; and
- Your contact details.
You may also wish to notify the other party of your intention to make an application to ACAT.
A letter of demand gives another party the opportunity to respond to your claim, and may even allow you to resolve your matter without involving ACAT.
In the above example, my neighbour’s sewage overflow pipe bursts, and spills on to my property. Before filing with ACAT, I can provide them with the following letter of demand:
To whom it may concern,
Last week, your sewage overflow pipe burst. The runoff from this pipe has been flowing onto my property.
This is creating a nuisance for me, and preventing me from enjoying my land. In order to resolve this issue, I’d like you to repair the pipe, so that it is no longer flowing onto my land. I’d also like you to compensate me for the cost of cleaning up my land that this burst pipe has caused.
Please respond to me within 7 days regarding this issue. If we are unable to resolve this issue, I intend to file a nuisance application and a damages application with ACAT.
Applications relating to civil disputes are available at the following link:
These applications can be printed off and filled in by hand, or can be completed in your browser or a PDF/word editor on your computer prior to printing.
Note that there are different applications for each matter. However, the following sections appear across all of the applications:
Filling out your Application:
This is the section for your own contact and identification details.
Under this section, place the contact details for the person who you are trying to settle a matter with.
Grounds for Application
Under the sections titled ‘grounds for application’, you should list the reasons why you’re bringing the matter to ACAT. This should include what you believe to be the cause of the matter. For our above example, I would mention the pipe, and that it is interfering with the enjoyment of my land.
Previous Attempts to Resolve the Dispute
Under this section, you should list any previous steps you have taken towards settling the matter in the past. This should include the details of your letter of demand, and any other correspondence you have had with the other party in relation to your dispute (If you have contacted them).
If you have made no previous attempts to settle this matter, then indicate this at the bottom of the section.
Under this section, you should outline the details of any orders you are seeking, and whether or not you’re seeking compensation. For the above example, I would request compensation to cover the costs of clean up.
At the bottom, list both your amounts and reasons claimed for the amounts, and then the total amount of compensation you’d ideally receive in the ‘Total Amount of Application’ section. Note that ACAT is only able to make compensation orders to the value of $10,000. If you are entitled to more than $10,000, but are willing to accept a claim of $10,000 or under, you can abandon the excess and limit the claim to $10,000 in your application to ACAT.
 ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008 (ACT) s 16(a).
 ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008 (ACT) s 16(b).
 ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008 (ACT) s 16(c).
 ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008 (ACT) s 16(d).
 ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008 (ACT) s 16(e).
 ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008 (ACT) s 16(f).
 ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008 (ACT) s 16(d).
 ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008 (ACT) s 18.
 ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008 (ACT) s 20(1), s 20(2).