State Administrative Tribunal

Costs and Costs Orders

Generally, parties before the Tribunal bear their own costs, but the Tribunal can order that one party pay another party’s costs. Costs orders by the Tribunal are rare.

This page provides information on the two situations where SAT may make a costs order. An order may be appropriate due to:

  • the conduct of the parties; or
  • the nature of the matter.

There is also information on how costs are calculated.

Conduct of the parties

No definitive list exists of circumstances in which SAT will order costs.  However, the factors include:

  • Where a party has contributed to costs being incurred unnecessarily, by its unreasonable or inappropriate conduct;
  • Where a party has been found to have been untruthful in its dealings with the other party or the Tribunal;
  • Where a party's case has been shown to be weak or without merit; and
  • Where a party has been required to commence the proceeding in order to establish an objectively clear entitlement.

SAT can also order that a party pay for the costs of the proceeding incurred by SAT itself. Section 88 of the State Administrative Tribunal Act 2004 (‘the SAT Act’) allows SAT to make such an order when:

  • The proceeding is vexatious or frivolous;
  • A party did not genuinely participate in the original decision;
  • A proceeding was dismissed for want of prosecution; or
  • The proceedings were conducted in a way to disadvantage the other party.

Nature of the matter

There are also areas of SAT’s jurisdiction in which it is accepted that an order for costs will generally be made. For example:

  • Vocational regulation matters - when a vocational regulation body succeeds in disciplinary action against a practitioner; and
  • Compulsory land acquisition matters - when the compensation arising from the compulsory acquisition of a property is assessed.

Guardianship and Administration matters

The Guardianship and Administration Act 1990 includes a specific power for awarding costs, in addition to the Tribunal’s general power. Section 16(4) allows SAT to award costs when a party has acted in the best interests of a proposed represented person. As with other costs applications at SAT, they are not commonly awarded and additional factors are needed. For example, costs may be awarded when there are:

  • serious allegations of abuse, and legal advice and representation is required to present a reasoned case in a timely manner;
  • parties in conflict, to such an extent it is unlikely the history and needs of the proposed represented person could be presented to the Tribunal without legal assistance; or
  • issues which make the application complex or unique.

SAT cannot retrospectively authorise the payment of costs when costs have already been paid by, or out of the assets of, the proposed represented person.

When the Tribunal has made a costs order, it must also calculate the amount of costs.

Last updated: 9-Dec-2014

[ back to top ]