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This case concerned whether QCAT lacked jurisdiction to hear disciplinary proceedings referred to it by the Valuers Registration Board of Queensland because the proceedings were not referred “as soon as possible” as required by s 38(4) Acts Interpretation Act 1954. The Court of Appeal held that QCAT had jurisdiction to hear the proceedings, even though they were not referred as soon as possible.
Sofronoff P, Mullins JA and Bradley J
6 August 2021
The Valuers Registration Board of Queensland (“Board”) referred disciplinary proceedings against a registered valuer to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“QCAT”) under the Valuers Registration Act 1992. –.
The registered valuer applied to have the QCAT proceedings struck out. He argued that QCAT did not have jurisdiction to hear proceedings that were not commenced “as soon as possible” as required by s 38(4) Acts Interpretation Act 1954 (“the Act”). . Section 38(4) provides:
“If no time is provided or allowed for doing anything, the thing is to be done as soon as possible, and as often as the relevant occasion happens.”
QCAT struck out the proceedings on the basis that the Board did not refer the matter as soon as possible. It refused an extension of time. The Appeal Tribunal dismissed an appeal from that decision. –.
On appeal to the Court of Appeal, the Board argued that it would frustrate the scheme under the Act to invalidate a referral of disciplinary proceedings to QCAT for failure to do so “as soon as possible”. .
Mullins JA (Sofronoff P and Bradley J agreeing) held that referral of disciplinary proceedings to QCAT in breach of s 38(4) of the Act does not invalidate the referral. The Board’s failure to refer as soon as possible may be relevant to a valuer’s ability to seek to have the proceedings struck out as an abuse of process or because they unnecessarily disadvantage the valuer under s 47(1) or s 48(2)(a) of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009. . It follows that the appeal was allowed and the proceedings before QCAT remained on foot.
S Spottiswood of Counsel