Date: 24 April 2020
Tribunal: Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal
Tribunal Member: Member Gordon
Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld) Sections: s 31
Rights Considered: Right to a fair hearing 
Other Legislation: Acts Interpretation Act 1954 (Qld) s 39A; Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld) ss 57, 92, 93, 139; Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Rules 2009 (Qld); Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld), Division 19

Keywords: Fair trial

The right to a fair hearing (Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld) s 31) is mentioned in the context of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld), but there is no substantive discussion of the right or its application.

This case was an application for a leave to appeal from a decision by an Adjudicator in a minor civil dispute whereby Balemi, the appellant, was ordered to pay Ingles a sum constituting a refund for a defective jet ski: at [1]. Balemi argued two grounds of appeal:

  1. He did not have the opportunity to present his case at the hearing (a fundamental entitlement to any person); and
  2. The purchase of the jet ski was made in Bartercard dollars, not Australian dollars, and the failure to refund in this currency ‘overcompensated Mr. Ingles’: at [9].

In assessing the first ground of appeal, Member Gordon held: ‘Provided the parties had been properly served it was open to the Adjudicator to proceed with the hearing if this were fair.’ He went on to explain: ‘The requirement to act fairly is in section 28(2) of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld) (QCAT Act) and is also required by sections 28(3)(a) and acting fairly is one of the objects of the QCAT Act. Since 1 January 2020 the right to fair hearing is also provided by section 31 of the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld)’: at [14].

Member Gordon did not further analyse section 31 but held that the first ground of appeal was not ‘reasonably arguable’: at [29]. The appeal ultimately failed and the original decision was stayed: at [50]-[51].

Visit the reported judgement: Balemi v Ingles [2020] QCATA 58 (HTML?CONTEXT=1;QUERY=%5B2020%5D%20QCATA%2058%20;MASK_PATH=, 57.2 KB)