August 29, 2016

Supreme Court Justice Tim Carmody is tipped to be appointed President of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal when Justice David Thomas’ term ends in October.

QCAT has an enormous workload across the entire state dealing with small debts, residential tenancies, retail shop leases, building disputes, professional standards, guardianship, discrimination and administrative review.

In the 2015 fiscal year it completed more than 31,000 cases.

Carmody is the first to admit that the justice meted out by QCAT is not meant to be perfect.

In a recent appeal, he referred to the tribunal as a “court substitute” which according to sound public policy “is aimed at conserving finite judicial and administrative resources as well as promoting finality of litigation”.

He concedes that in his jurisdiction – because of the need to resolve disputes quickly – parties to a dispute might gain the impression that their argument has not been accorded equivalent weight to that of their opponent, even though it was equally plausible.

Despite the limitations of the QCAT environment, his rulings during the last 12 months at the Tribunal display an unmistakable sense of even-handedness.

“Access to courts has also been guaranteed by no less than the Magna Carta, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Chapter III of the Australian Constitution,” he pronounced in a recent ruling.

“Within limits, the outcome is what it is,” he concluded in another.

Justice Thomas is expected to take up a position on the Supreme Court bench in George Street after he leaves QCAT.

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