Darwin Community Legal Service

Going to NTCAT

The Northern Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal (‘the NTCAT’) can assist with resolving certain disputes between landlords and tenants under the Residential Tenancies Act 1999 (NT), and residents and park owners under the Caravan Parks Act 2012 (NT).

NTCAT can hear matters for the first time (in its original jurisdiction), and review decisions made by NTCAT and some other decision makers (in its review jurisdiction). The person that makes the decision is called the Tribunal Member. If you make the application, you are the applicant. If an application is made against you, you are the respondent. In this factsheet, a reference to a landlord generally includes a real estate agent or another person acting on the instructions of the landlord.

How to apply

If you have a tenancy issue and wish to bring an application at NTCAT you will need to fill out the Form 1 Initiating Application. Please read the following document that will help explain the Form 1 to you: Form 1 Initiating Application Explained

Please also see a link to NTCAT’s website where you can find information about where to send your Form 1 as well as information about the application fee: https://nt.gov.au/law/courts-and-tribunals/northern-territory-civil-and-administrative-tribunal-ntcat/how-to-apply-to-ntcat

If you are being taken to NTCAT and have received an order from the Tribunal, please contact our service on 1800 812 953 and we can help explain the documents that you have received and provide advice on what you can do.

Once your application has been accepted by NTCAT, you will be given a copy of the application which you must give to the respondent. You will also be told the date and time for the:

  • initial directions hearing;
  • compulsory conference; or
  • final hearing.

Initial directions hearing

Unless NTCAT decides otherwise, you will need to attend an initial directions hearing which can allow NTCAT to:

  • identify areas of agreement and disagreement;
  • identify the types of evidence you and the landlord will rely on;
  • make any directions. These are orders made by NTCAT requiring someone to do something, for example requiring the applicant to give a copy of their evidence to the respondent;
  • set a date for any compulsory conference; and
  • set a date for hearing.

Compulsory conference

NTCAT can require you to attend a compulsory conference to identify and clarify issues raised in the application, and help you and the landlord come to an agreement. The conference is held in private and anything you say in the conference cannot be relied upon in a hearing unless you and the landlord decide otherwise. If you reach an agreement during a compulsory conference, NTCAT must make it into an order for it to be enforceable. NTCAT can also require you and the landlord to attend mediation to help you reach an agreement.

Final hearing

An uncomplicated or urgent matter may go straight to a final hearing. If an application has been made against you If an application has been made against you, you should file a response with NTCAT using ‘Form 2 response.’ In your response, you need to state what decision you want NTCAT to make and why it should make that decision. If you do not file a response, NTCAT can presume you agree with the decision that the applicant is seeking.


You can represent yourself or be represented by a lawyer in NTCAT. NTCAT aims to be informal and use straightforward language and procedures. You will be responsible for any costs you need to pay relating to the matter (e.g. fees for a lawyer) unless NTCAT orders otherwise.

How to ask for a review of an NTCAT decision

You can apply to have an NTCAT decision reviewed if the matter was heard in NTCAT’s original jurisdiction. To have the decision reviewed, you need to lodge ‘Form 1 Initiating application’ with NTCAT within 28 days of NTCAT decision.

You can appeal to the Supreme Court on a question of law, if the Supreme Court gives permission for you to do so.

If you did not attend an NTCAT hearing

It is very important to attend NTCAT. If you or someone acting on your behalf did not attend NTCAT but had a reasonable excuse for not attending, in certain circumstances NTCAT can reopen the matter and change its decision. To request that the matter be reopened, you need to lodge Form 3 ‘ordinary application’ within 20 business days of the date of the decision.


Darwin Community Legal Service 2015: Non-profit community groups have permission to reproduce parts of this publication as long as the original meaning is retained and proper credit is given to DCLS, as the publisher.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this publication is a guide to the law in the Northern Territory. It is not a substitute for legal advice. You should talk to a lawyer about your particular legal issue. The information contained in this factsheet is current as at November 2014.