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Australian Capital Territory

There are a range of services available in the ACT to help resolve business disputes. 

ACT Conflict Resolution Services

The ACT Conflict Resolution Services (CRS) aims to provide professional, accessible and effective dispute resolution and training services to the ACT community to resolve disputes peacefully. The CRS may be able to assist with workplace and small business disputes, including debt and finances, customer complaints and business-to-business issues.

The CRS offers a free dispute assessment service to give advice and referral about disputes. It also supplies mediation services to conflicting parties at a convenient time and place.

Contact CRS:

 p: (02) 6162 4050

 e: mediation@crs.org.au

 w: www.crs.org.au

 

ACT Courts

The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT), the Magistrates Court and the Supreme Court provide dispute resolution services for civil matters, for example non-payment and debt. Small claims of up to $10,000 are heard by ACAT, claims between $10,000 and $250,000 are dealt with in the Magistrates Court and matters over $250,000 are heard in the Supreme Court.

 

ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (under $10,000)

The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) hears and resolves a wide range of civil disputes and small claims of up to $10,000. The ACAT will also hear requests to review administrative decisions and professional and occupational disciplinary matters.

The ACAT encourages disputing parties to consider alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, for an affordable and timely solution. If an agreement is not reached, the dispute will then move on to a hearing, where the Tribunal will make a decision that is binding to both parties.

Contact ACAT:

 p: (02) 6207 1740

 e: tribunal@act.gov.au

 w: www.acat.act.gov.au

 

ACT Magistrates Court ($10,000 to $250,000)

The ACT Magistrates Court hears civil disputes (including commercial and retail lease disputes) between $10,000 and $250,000. The Magistrates Court may look to alternative dispute resolution to resolve the dispute.

If an agreement cannot be reached, a hearing will then be held. If one of the parties does not agree with the hearing’s outcome, the dispute may then be referred to or appealed in the Supreme Court.

Contact the Magistrates Court:

p: 02 6207 1709

e: courtmctcivil@act.gov.au

w: http://www.courts.act.gov.au/magistrates/

 

ACT Supreme Court (over $250,000)

The ACT Supreme court hears civil disputes over $250,000.  For disputes of this value it is highly recommended that you seek independent legal advice.

Contact the Supreme Court:

 p: 02 6207 1709

 e: scregistry@act.gov.au

 w: www.courts.act.gov.au/supreme

 

Building and Construction

In the ACT, there is a security of payment law which ensures that a person undertaking construction work in the state is entitled to receive, and is able to recover, progress payments for work they carry out under a written or oral construction contract, including the supply of good and services.

Under the law there is an informal, inexpensive and quick adjudication process to recover payment.

If there is a dispute about payment, you can apply for adjudication to assist you to resolve your dispute by contacting an Authorised Nominating Authority (ANA). Find a registered ANA in the Australian Capital Territory.

 

Energy

The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) considers applications relating to complaints about the supply of energy and water by the utilities that are licensed to operate in the ACT. Specifically, ACAT considers complaints about hardship caused or likely caused by the electricity, gas or water supply being disconnected, and misconduct or poor service by a utility.

Before contacting ACAT you should attempt to resolve your issue directly with your energy or water provider.

Contact ACAT:

 p: (02) 6207 7740

 e: tribunal@act.gov.au

 w: www.acat.act.gov.au/energy_water/energy_water

 

Fair Trading

Access Canberra assists and protects businesses and the community through the administration of fair trading laws. Access Canberra educates businesses so they are aware of their obligations and responsibilities under the Australian Consumer Law.

Access Canberra investigates breaches of fair trading laws, the safety of goods, and takes compliance action where appropriate.

Contact Access Canberra

 p: 13 22 81

 w: www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au

Government

The ACT Ombudsman investigates complaints about the administrative actions of ACT Government agencies and public education providers.

The ACT Ombudsman aims to resolve complaints impartially, informally and quickly, through consultation and negotiation, and if necessary, by making formal recommendations to the most senior levels of government.

The services of the ACT Ombudsman are provided by the Commonwealth Ombudsman under agreement between the ACT and Commonwealth Governments.

Contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman:

 p: 1300 362 072

 e: ombudsman@ombudsman.gov.au

 w: http://ombudsman.act.gov.au

 

Retail Lease

The Magistrates Court has jurisdiction for commercial and retail lease disputes in the ACT.

The ACT Leases Commercial and Retail Handbook provides information for retail tenants and landlords on retail leasing and dispute resolution, including rent payment and reviews, and rights and obligations. 

Contact the Magistrates Court:

 p: 02 6207 1709

 e: courtmctcivil@act.gov.au

 w: www.courts.act.gov.au/magistrates

 

Unfair Contract Terms

The Office of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman is a concierge for dispute resolution services.  The Office assists small business operators to resolve complaints and disputes, including disputes with a Commonwealth Government agency, contract and payment disputes and unfair contract term disputes.

You can submit an Alternative Dispute Resolution webform, and a case management officer will be in contact with you shortly.

Contact the ASBFEO:

p:            1300 650 460

w:          www.asbfeo.gov.au


If you require further assistance, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Information Line can provide information and assistance, including helping you to identify the most appropriate service to resolve your dispute. You can contact the Information Line on 1300 650 460.