Two kinds of hearings may be held at the SAT:
A directions hearing is held before a member of the SAT and all parties are expected to attend. The Tribunal member tries to identify the issues in dispute and plans how the application will proceed.They will also consider whether the application should be referred to mediation or a compulsory conference before listing the application for a final hearing. In some circumstances, the Tribunal might also consider whether the application should be considered on the documents, without the need for a final hearing.
Parties will need to advise the SAT of their availability to attend mediation, a compulsory conference or a final hearing at a date suggested in the course of a directions hearing.
The SAT will inform all parties of the date, time and hearing room number for the first directions hearing. Most hearings are at the SAT offices.
The parties may attend in person or be represented by their lawyer or another representative. See Representatives.
If a person or parties cannot attend the hearing because they live out of Perth, are ill, or face other special circumstances, they may be able to make arrangements with the SAT to participate by telephone or video conference. Contact the SAT.
What about proceedings involving $7,500 or less?
In a number of cases, if the matter in issue can be ascribed a monetary value of $7,500 or less, the applicant may choose to have it dealt with as a minor proceeding. These issues will be raised at the directions hearing. For more information see Minor Proceedings.
Will I be asked for more information at the directions hearing?
At the first directions hearing, the Tribunal member may ask the parties to:
- pinpoint the real issues;
- name key witnesses;
- state which documents will be tendered as part of their case;
- estimate the time it will take to present their case at the final hearing;
- consider mediation, compulsory conference or a decision based on documents; and/or
- suggest which dates are suitable for further hearings.
What orders can the Tribunal member make?
The Tribunal member will advise how the matter will be handled. The member can make final or preliminary orders.
Preliminary orders may be made concerning:
- compulsory conference;
- decision based on documents;
- final hearing dates;
- further directions hearings;
- further information required;
- witness and expert statements; and
- future conduct of the application.
Final orders may be made if:
- the parties served with the application or a notice of hearing fail to attend the first directions hearing; or
- the parties consent to the SAT making a final decision.
Are there any exceptions?
In some cases, such as applications under the Guardianship and Administration Act, matters may proceed straight to a final hearing. In other cases, a decision may be based upon the documents. In these instances a directions hearing may not be held.
A final hearing provides all parties with the opportunity to present their case. They can:
- give evidence;
- call witnesses to give evidence;
- ask questions of witnesses;
- tender documents; and
- make submissions.
Usually, the applicant will present their case first and the other parties will follow.
A final hearing may be before a single Tribunal member or panel of members.
Parties may attend in person or be represented by a lawyer or a person with relevant knowledge or experience as outlined in the State Administrative Tribunal Act, unless an enabling Act provides otherwise. However, some minor proceedings do not allow representation. See Representatives.
How will I know about the hearing?
Most final hearings are held at the SAT offices. The SAT will send all parties a notice of hearing stating the date, time and room number.
Do I need to prepare documents before the final hearing?
Before the final hearing, the parties will usually be required to deliver relevant documents to the SAT. These may include witness statements and expert witness reports. At the directions hearing, the Tribunal member will give instructions and dates for filing documents.
Does the Tribunal deliver its decision that day?
At the end of the final hearing, the Tribunal will consider the matter. Its decision and orders may be delivered immediately or may be held over for detailed consideration (reserved). A decision may be reserved for up to three months.
The SAT gives reasons for all its final decisions.
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