There are a few reasons you may be advised about a hearing at ACAT.
- You or the landlord/agent have made an application to the ACAT to try and resolve a dispute and the ACAT determines that there is no need for a conference (mediation) or,
- You and the landlord/agent have attended a conference (mediation) at the ACAT, but have not been able to resolve the dispute.
A hearing is a more formal process which will be managed by a Member who has similar powers to a judge in a higher court. Hearings are generally held in public, which means anyone can sit in and listen to the proceedings.
During the hearing the Member will normally ask the person making the claim to give his/her side of the story first. Then the other person will be asked to say how they see the situation. Any documents relating to the dispute should be presented to the Member and they will ask questions of each party and of any witnesses. You will also be able to ask questions. You should address all of your questions and remarks to the Member and not to the other party and do not interrupt the Member or other party when they are speaking.
The tribunal members will encourage both parties to discuss the dispute and may suggest ways in which it might be settled. If an agreement is not reached, the Tribunal will make a Decision. Both agreements and Decisions are binding (which means you must do what they say). If you do not comply with the Decision of the ACAT Member, the other party can ask the Magistrates Court to enforce the order which can have serious legal implications for you. If this is happening to you, please contact the Tenants Advice Service.
For more tips on what to remember at a hearing visit the ACAT website here.