The Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal was created on 25 February 2002 as a result of the merger of the Residential Tribunal of New South Wales and the Fair Trading Tribunal. (1)
The Tribunal was established under the Consumer Trader and Tenancy Act 2001 (Act No 82, 2001) which received assent on 21 November 2000. (2) The Tribunal was formed as the specialist dispute resolution forum for consumer, trader and tenancy based matters. It aimed to provide an independent, low cost and accessible dispute resolution forum to the people of New South Wales who are parties in consumer or tenancy disputes. (3)
There were eight divisions of the Tribunal which dealt with matters previously dealt with by former Tribunals. (4)
The Tribunal comprised the following divisions:
a) General Division in which the consumer claimed under the Consumer Claims Act 1998 (Act No.162,1998).
b) Commercial Division in which the Tribunal’s jurisdiction was to be exercised in respect of matters arising under the following Acts: Consumer Credit Administration Act 1995 (Act No.69, 1995), Consumer Credit (New South Wales) Act 1995 (Act No.7, 1995), Credit Act 1984 (Act No.94, 1984), Credit (Finance Brokers) Act, 1984 (Act No.94, 1984), Credit (Home Finance Contracts) Act 1984 (Act No.97, 1984) and the Travel Agents Act 1986 (Act No.5, 1986).
c) Home Building Division in which the Tribunal’s jurisdiction was to be exercised in respect of any matter under the Home Building Act, 1989 (Act No.147, 1989).
d) Motor Vehicles Division: in which the Tribunal’s jurisdiction was to be exercised in respect of consumer claims under the Consumer Claims Act, 1998 (Act No.162, 1998) that related to motor vehicles.
e) Residential Parks Division in which the Tribunal’s jurisdiction was to be exercised in respect of any matter arising under: the Residential Parks Act 1998 (Act No.142, 1998) and the Landlord’s and Tenant (Rental Bonds) Act 1977(Act No.44, 1977) that related to a residential park.
f) Retirement Villages Division in which the Tribunal’s jurisdiction was to be exercised in respect of any matter arising under the Retirement Villages Act 1999 (Act No.81, 1999).
g) Strata and Community Schemes Division in which the Tribunal’s jurisdiction was to be exercised in respect of matters arising under: the Community Land Management Act 1996 (Act No.138, 1996) and the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 (Act No.138, 1996).
h) Tenancy Division in which the Tribunal’s jurisdiction was to be exercised in respect of matters arising under: the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 (Act No.26, 1987) and the Landlord and Tenant (Rental Bonds) Act 1977 (Act No.44, 1977). (5)
On 28 February 2002, at the launch of the Tribunal, The Hon. John Aquilina MP, Minister of Fair Trading announced that hearings would be conducted in approximately 140 venues in metropolitan and regional areas of New South Wales. Registries would be located in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong and Tamworth. Tribunal members operated from bases in Gosford, the Northern Rivers, the Riverina, Dubbo, Orange and Bathurst. (6)
The Tribunal consisted of: a) the Chairperson, b) Deputy Chairperson (Registry and Administration), c) the Deputy Chairperson (Determinations), d) senior members and e) other members. (7) Members were appointed by the Governor. (8) A Chairperson appointed assessors. (9)
The Registrar, Deputy Registrar and staff were employed under Part 2 of the Public Sector Management Act 1988 (Act No.65, 1998). The functions of the registrar were to: a) assist in managing the business and the affairs of the Tribunal and b) such administrative or other functions as may be conferred or imposed on the Registrar by or under any Act. A Deputy Registrar could exercise the functions as directed by the Registrar and during the absence or vacancy of the Registrar. (10)
From 1 July 2009 when the Department of Commerce was abolished the Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal became a branch of the new Principal Department, the Department of Services Technology and Administration. (11)
From 4 April 2011 when the name of the Department of Services, Technology and Administration was changed the Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal became a branch of the Department of Finance and Services. (12)
1. Department of Fair Trading website. http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au (cited 14 April 2003).
2. The Statutes of New South Wales, Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal Act 2001 (Act No.82, 2001), p.1.
3. Website ibid.
4. Department of Fair Trading Annual Report 2001 – 2002, Vol 1 of 2, p.9.
5. Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal Act (Act No: 82, 2001), Schedule 1, Division 1.
6. Launch of the CTTT: Speech by The Hon. John Aquilina MP, website ibid.
7. Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (Act No. 82, 2001) Part 2, Division 1, s6.
8. ibid Part 2, Division 1, s7.
9. Ibid. Part 2, Division 3, s15 (1).
10. Ibid. Part 20, Division 4.
11. Public Sector Employment and Management (Departmental Amalgamations) Order 2009 (2009 No 352) cls. 28; notified on NSW Legislation website, 27 July 2009.
12. Public Sector Employment and Management (Departments) Order 2011 (2011 No 184) cls. 29; notified on NSW Legislation website, 3 April 2011.