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Glossary of dispute resolution terms

This glossary explains common terms used in dispute resolution by the Office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management (the Commissioner’s Office).

Term Meaning
Adjudication

The process of determining an adjudication application. Adjudicators consider written material submitted by parties, and undertake further investigations if required. Adjudication does not involve a hearing.

Adjudicator

A professionally qualified, independent decision-maker who determines adjudication applications under the BCCM Act. In making decisions, adjudicators are not subject to direction (for example, by the Commissioner or Attorney-General).

See also Specialist Adjudicator

Administrator

A person appointed by an adjudicator to undertake specified functions of a body corporate, committee or committee member, such as calling a general meeting of the body corporate.

Affected person

A person named by an applicant as being affected by the outcome sought in a conciliation or adjudication application.

Appeal An application by a person aggrieved by an order to overturn the order. Adjudicator’s orders can be appealed to QCAT on a question of law and referee’s orders can be appealed to the Magistrates Court. The BCCM Office is not a party to an appeal and has no role in the appeal.
Applicant

A person who applies for conciliation or adjudication under the BCCM Act or for an order of a referee under the BUGT Act.

Application

A request, made in the required form and accompanied by the prescribed fee, for conciliation or for an order of an adjudicator or a referee.

Amendment A request by an applicant to change or add to their application. Amendments require the approval of the commissioner, which may be subject to conditions if sought after parties have been invited to make submissions.
BCCM Act

Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997.

BCCM Office

Office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management.

Body corporate The legal entity created when a community titles scheme is established. All lot owners are automatically members of the body corporate. The ‘body corporate’ is different from the ‘committee’ elected to administer it on a day-to-day basis or a ‘body corporate manager’ engaged to assist with administrative duties. Distinct from a ‘body corporate manager’.
Body corporate manager

A manager (individual or a company) may be appointed by a body corporate to provide administrative services (for example, sending out levy and meeting notices). Distinct from a ‘body corporate’.

BUGT Act Building Units and Group Titles Act 1980.
Case management

The assessment of an application to determine if it meets the requirements of the body corporate legislation, and the management of applications through to their referral to conciliation or adjudication.

Commissioner Manages the dispute resolution and information services provided by the BCCM Office. The Commissioner makes decisions about the case management of applications under the BCCM Act, but does not consider the merit of an application, make orders, or review orders.
Complex dispute

A dispute which can only be determined by QCAT or a specialist adjudicator. Includes certain disputes about contractual matters and lot entitlement issues.

Conciliation A process in which the parties to a dispute meet with a conciliator to try and reach agreement on how to resolve the dispute.
Conciliator

An impartial dispute resolution professional who assists parties to resolve their dispute. The conciliator does not decide the merits of a dispute or how to resolve it.

Conciliation agreement

The written document signed by the parties to a conciliation application, detailing the things they have agreed on. It is a good will agreement and is not legally enforceable.

Consent order

An order made in the terms agreed to by the parties. A consent order can be enforced but cannot be appealed.

Declaratory order

An application for an order about an operational matter where there is no dispute and no respondent (e.g., requests to change the financial year end date). A declaratory order is not appropriate where there is a dispute over an issue or an applicant is seeking an interpretation of or a ruling on a legal issue.

Dispute resolution recommendation

A decision of the commissioner or delegate as to how an application should be resolved (e.g. conciliation or adjudication).

Dismissal

A decision of the commissioner or an adjudicator not to decide an application that is within the jurisdiction, on the basis that it would be better determined in a court or tribunal of competent jurisdiction.

Emergency application

An application that can be referred to an adjudicator to determine without the usual submissions process, usually if there is no dispute (eg. if a body corporate seeks urgent authorisation of spending).

Expeditable application An application for final orders that may be progressed more quickly, either because there is no dispute or because of the urgency of the circumstances.
Extension Extra time which may be allowed on the due date to provide information, make a submission, or reply to submissions.
Interim order A temporary order which puts an action on hold or keeps things as they are until a final order can be made about the dispute. Interim orders are distinct from expeditable applications.
Jurisdiction

The legislative power of a conciliator to conciliate an application; or an adjudicator or referee to decide an application.

Order

The written decision of an adjudicator or referee to determine an application, accompanied by a statement of reasons. An order may grant or dismiss the orders sought, or made alternative orders. An order is legally binding and enforceable. It is an offence to contravene an order.

See also Interim order, Declaratory order and Consent order

Parties to a dispute

Those named in an application as being involved in a dispute – the applicant, respondent and affected persons.

QCAT

Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal. QCAT determines appeals of adjudicators’ orders and complex disputes, as well as disputes about debts owed by owners to a body corporate.

Referee

A professionally qualified, independent decision-maker who determines applications for orders under the BUGT Act.

Regulation module Each community titles scheme is registered under one of five regulations (subordinate legislation) made under the BCCM Act which helps determine the procedures applicable to that scheme.
Rejection

A decision of the commissioner to end an application, for example because it is not within jurisdiction, or the applicant has not attempted self-resolution or conciliation, or the applicant has not supplied requested information.

Reply to submissions

A written response made by an applicant to the submissions made about their application.

Respondent

A person named by an applicant as the person against whom the outcome in an application is sought.

Self resolution

Attempts to resolve a dispute before lodging an application. Self-resolution is compulsory for all applications.

Specialist adjudicator

A professionally qualified, independent decision-maker who determines adjudication applications, particularly complex disputes, under the BCCM Act. Appointed by the commissioner at the request and with the agreement of the parties to the dispute.

Submission

Written comments on an application made by a person invited to make a submission. Submissions cannot be confidential.

Withdrawal

A request by an applicant not to proceed with an application. An application must be withdrawn in writing.

Contact us

Ask a body corporate question or call the information service on 1800 060 119 (freecall).

You can also access our forms, find out the fees and read the practice directions.

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Last updated
6 November 2015
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