Going to the State Administrative Tribunal

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ConsumerBusiness / company

Publication last updated 14 December 2020

If Consumer Protection is unable to help you resolve your complaint, the State Administrative Tribunal may be able to assist you.

Consumer Protection operates a free conciliation service to help resolve complaints; however, if this is unsuccessful, you may be
able to take the matter further at the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT).

Enabling legislation

The SAT deals with a range of administrative, commercial and personal matters. It handles disputes about building services, commercial
tenancy, residential park tenancy, retirement villages and strata management issues. 

When appropriate, Consumer Protection will refer you to the SAT under the laws we administer.

Consumer Protection administers the following laws that provide recourse to the SAT:

  • Associations Incorporation Act 1987
  • Chattel Securities Act 1987
  • Commercial Tenancy (Retail Shops) Agreements Act 1985
  • Debt Collectors Licensing Act 1964
  • Employment Agents Act 1976
  • Hire-Purchase Act 1959
  • Land Valuers Licensing Act 1978
  • Motor Vehicle Dealers Act 1973
  • Motor Vehicle Repairers Act 2003
  • Real Estate and Business Agents Act 1978
  • Residential Parks (Long-Stay Tenants) Act 2006
  • Retirement Villages Act 1992
  • Settlement Agents Act 1981

Procedure

The SAT’s approach is informal and flexible. Strict rules of evidence do not apply. 

Through the SAT parties can resolve their disputes during directions hearings or, if appropriate, mediation. The SAT allows parties to represent themselves, or to be represented by a lawyer or person with relevant experience. 

Application fees cover all services (including mediation) up to and including the first day of a hearing. An additional fee is payable for each further hearing day but most hearings are competed within one day. Application fees vary depending on the issue but many are below $170.

Time periods

Under some legislation a specific time period must be given to a party before steps can be taken to enforce your rights. Special care needs to be taken to make sure you have complied with these time periods.

A useful tip is to remember time periods often commence on the date a decision is made, not on the date you receive notice of the decision.

The law governing interpretation of legislation is not always clear to the reader when calculating required timeframes. Consumer Protection recommends you get independent legal advice to ensure you comply with all necessary requirements.

Enforcement

While the SAT is not a court, orders made by the SAT are binding on the parties and are enforceable as if made by a court. Some orders require a party to do or not do something and others require the payment of money.

Which court enforces monetary orders depends on the value of the dispute. If the debt is less than $75,000 it is the Magistrates Court. Information about its enforcement options is in our fact sheet Going to the Magistrates Court. If the debt is more than $75,000 it is the District Court and if the debt is more than $750,000 it is the Supreme Court of Western Australia.

You should seek advice from the staff of the relevant court or a legal practitioner for further information about enforcing an order of the SAT.

Contacting the SAT

Consumer Protection recommends you contact the SAT to discuss your complaint and prepare your application. The SAT staff will provide you with an application form and inform you about the correct procedure, but they are unable to provide legal advice. 

You can contact the SAT by:

Getting help

You may want to get legal advice from a private lawyer. Otherwise, there are a number of organisations, including those below, which may give you free or low-cost legal services.

  • Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia - 1800 019 900
  • Legal Aid Western Australia - 1300 650 579
    • Perth - 32 St Georges Terrace 9261 6222
    • Albany - Suite 3, 43-47 Duke Street 9892 9700
    • Broome - 15-17 Dampier Terrace 9195 5888
    • Bunbury - L7, Bunbury Tower, 61 Victoria St 9721 2277
    • Geraldton - U8, 273 Foreshore Drive 9921 0200
    • Kalgoorlie - Suite 3, 120 Egan Street 9025 1300
    • Kununurra - 98 Konkerberry Drive 9166 5800
    • South Hedland - 28-32 Throssells Road 9172 3733
    • Indian Ocean - 20 Jalan Pantai 9164 7529
  • Community Legal WA - Community Legal WA is an organisation representing and supporting community legal centres in Western Australia. These community-based organisations include:
Consumer Protection
Fact sheet
Last updated 15 Jan 2021

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