Directions hearings

A directions hearing is the first step in the tribunal process after the complaint is received from the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland. The initial directions hearing is usually conducted by the Senior Member in the Human Rights division of the tribunal.

In a decision on an application for leave to be legally represented, the Senior Member described the reasons for the initial directions hearing and what usually happens at that hearing.

[5] The practice developed at QCAT for the conduct of anti-discrimination matters is to hold a directions hearing as the first event in the tribunal process. Most persons involved in these matters have no previous experience of QCAT and are unfamiliar with the tribunal processes. …
[6] It is essential that the parties are informed about the initial steps in the QCAT process and that directions are made for the efficient conduct of the complaint through the Tribunal. The directions hearing performs that task. I have informed persons taking part in the initial directions hearing process that I will permit parties to appear in a variety of manners to facilitate directions being made as efficiently as possible in the matter. I permit parties to attend by telephone without a formal application to do so. I permit parties to appear via family members without a formal application for leave being made and indeed to appear through other representatives, including their lawyers on that same basis. However the parties are informed that any appearance by a representative after the directions hearing must only happen with the formal leave of the Tribunal.
[7] It is in the interests of justice that the tribunal makes directions as early as possible in the life of a referred complaint. It is equally in the interests of justice that parties understand what they have to do to comply with the directions. At the initial directions hearing, I generally tell the persons appearing what is needed to be put into the filed contentions and I explain how a compulsory conference is conducted. I ask for their input into the timetable for filing documents and for holding the conference. I also answer questions about the process and explain that there is scope for the timetable to be extended if a reasonable request for an extension of time is made.

AB v Lutheran Church of Australia, Queensland District [2013] QCAT 118

QCAT decisions are available from:

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