Monday, July 27, 2009

Problems with the CCT

The CCT (Commercial and Consumer Tribunal) has jurisdiction to deal with the following in relation to Body Corporate matters:

  • Lot Entitlement Adjustments
  • Complex matters.
  • Appeals of adjudicators' orders

I have had recent experience with two applications and I have to say that I am left with the impression that the CCT has serious administrative problems that reflect very badly indeed on the organisation.

I was amazed and disappointed to find today that important correspondence for two applications has been misfiled and ignored. The CCT consequently sent orders of a hearing to an unauthorised recipient and it was only by luck that the order eventually found its way to the correct recipient. I have not received an explanation despite promises of a written response today. This is bureaucratic bungling at its best. Watch this space for further developments.

A major concern is that the CCT appears to me to defy and ignore the BCCM Act both in making orders and in giving instructions to respondents.

The CCT requires that the applicant deliver copies of the application to the respondent. This seems to me to be likely to create problems in itself. Leaving that aside, the "Respondents Kit" has a cover sheet with instructions on how to deal with the Application.

The two kits I have received state:

You MUST (the word MUST is in bold letters and underlined for emphasis) complete the Defence (Form 3) and deliver a copy within 14 days of the application to the CCT.

This is misleading and deceptive bearing in mind that the person receiving the "kit" is often a committee member who, in many cases, would be intimidated into thinking that they have to rush out and file a defence for the Body Corporate.

The fact that the CCT is ruling on matters relating to the Act surely means that they should not suggest that respondents breach the Act.

In many cases the respondent does NOT and should not need to complete the Defence within 14 days but there is no mention of this whatsoever on the cover sheet.

There are cases where The Body Corporate is the respondent. Applications are usually a restricted issue for one person. Anyone who responds to an application must comply first with the BCCM Act. The CCT knows this but makes no attempt to point this out on their instructions.

The following are some considerations when dealing with applications to the CCT.

1. The Committee does not need to arbitrarily make a decision on how to respond to these applications bearing in mind that the respondent is often "The Body Corporate". If the respondent is The Body Corporate, the Committee may decide to first call a meeting to discuss the matter and decide on how best to respond.

2. The Committee may also decide that the owners should be notified of the application and be given an opportunity to provide their input on how best to respond to the application. This could result in a general meeting.

3. The Committee is entitled to request legal representation but they may decide to seek the approval of owners at a general meeting as to whether or not to take legal representation.

The CCT are (hopefully) well aware of the requirements of the Act in calling committee meetings and general meetings. It could realistically take 6 weeks before the Body Corporate can even decide on how to deal with such an application and they are then entitled to make separate application for legal application.

Committees are usually made up by volunteers and they should not be subjected to unrealistic demands by the CCT.

The opinions expressed in this blog are personal and not intended in to be advice in any way. I have spent many years participating on a number of different Body Corporate Committees. I am a dealer in Vintage Movie Memorabilia specialising in original movie posters and movie art. also present a radio programme on Jazz Radio 94.1fm Monday - Friday afternoons on the Gold Coast.

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