In 2013, the SA Parliament passed the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act. It will determine administrative matters but will also have a civil jurisdiction that is still in the process of crystallisation.
Therefore, depending on what types of civil cases it can hear, there is a possibility of quicker, cheaper and less technical outcomes, with the additional benefit of winnowing out the backlog of cases in the Magistrates Courts flowing from the increase in its case load from changes made by the government back in July 2013 (see “Magistrates Court Increases Claims Limits”).
You will be able to have legal representation but generally, you will have to pay your own costs (win, lose or draw). The trade-off is that you will not have a ruinous bill for the other side to pay if you lose and the costs of the process itself should be lower than that of a formal Court process.
It is a matter of ‘wait and see.’ The VCAT process in Victoria has proved to be useful in resolving certain types of commercial disputes, so it is possible this reform may provide another option to enforce rights without too much pressure on the wallet.
In relation to any legal dispute, the need for proper advice at the outset, to avoid proceeding down an erroneous or impractical path, is absolute.
For further information please contact Peter on 8362 6400 or email Peter Jakobsen. Join our mailing list to receive updates and advice on current issues.