A Court/Tribunal Representation Service is where a Centre provides ongoing representation for a matter that has commenced in a court, tribunal or inquiry, where the Centre provides legal representation to the Service user and takes carriage of the matter in an ongoing, representative capacity.
“Commenced” in this context means the matter has been filed in court, lodged in a Tribunal, or accepted for inquiry by a forum such as a Royal Commission.
A Court/Tribunal Representation Service can be opened prior to a matter being filed in court, lodged in a Tribunal, or accepted for inquiry, where this is imminent – for example, where the Centre is taking on the case precisely in order to commence proceedings.
A Court/Tribunal Representation Service does not include services provided by a duty lawyer or advocate at a court or tribunal - these are Duty Lawyer Services.
Once a matter has commenced in a court, tribunal or inquiry, any alternative dispute resolution processes (such as a court-ordered mediation or a Tribunal-ordered conciliation) are part of the existing Court/Tribunal Representation Service. They do not fit within the definition of a Dispute Resolution Representative Service, which is limited to legal matters taking place outside of formal litigation processes.
In CLASS, work done in relation to these court or tribunal ordered dispute resolution processes can be recorded as Actions within the Court/Tribunal Representation Service.
If a Centre agrees to act for a Service User in a legal dispute in which court or tribunal proceedings have not yet been commenced, and which do not appear likely to commence in the immediate future, then the service should be opened as an Other Representation Service.
Many legal problems can be (and are) resolved without any recourse to courts or tribunals. These disputes might go on for weeks, months, even years without ever moving to litigation. Common examples are tenant / landlord disputes relating to non-urgent repairs, or ex-partners disputing child support.
If litigation commences, the Other Representation Service should be closed and a new Court/Tribunal Representation Service should be opened.
The rationale for this rule is that, at the point of litigation commencing:
Assistance provided by a Centre to a person who is self-representing in a Court or Tribunal proceeding are to be recorded as Legal Advice, Legal Task or Ongoing Legal Support Service, as relevant.
The particular Court or Tribunal should be recorded against the Service. For information about how to record court attendance Actions in CLASS, see CLASS Documentation.
All services provided to progress the determination of the Service User’s legal proceedings are counted together as one Court/Tribunal Service. For example, information, legal advice, referrals, and legal tasks are considered to be part of, and subsumed, by the Court/Tribunal Service and are not recorded separately.
Note that CLASS does allow referrals to be recorded as part of all Ongoing Services and these are currently included in the count for Referrals in NPA reporting.
If a Service User is represented by a Centre in a second piece of litigation, an additional Court/Tribunal Representation Service is opened where the second legal proceedings involved:
Examples where two Court/Tribunal Representation Services involving the same Service User should be opened are:
Case Study – Maia’s tenancy dispute