Enforcing a SAT Order
At the conclusion of a proceeding, SAT makes final orders. Orders made by SAT must be complied with and are enforceable as if made by a Court.
Once an order has been made SAT does not enforce the order. There are three ways you can enforce an order.
- SAT’s orders can be enforced in the appropriate civil court.
- when SAT is reviewing decisions within its review jurisdiction, there can sometimes be different enforcement processes from those which applied to the original decision.
- a criminal prosecution may be sought, this is at the discretion and action of the Tribunal.
The way you enforce an order depends on what type of order it is.
Types of orders
- Monetary Orders - decisions which require the payment of money.
- Non-monetary orders - decisions which usually require a party to do something, such as repair poor workmanship, or require a party not to do something.
- Procedural Orders - Before the final decision, SAT often makes ‘procedural orders’ about what parties need to do during the dispute.
More details of each of these are below.
1. Enforcing a Monetary Order
When SAT makes an order that another party owes you a sum of money, a copy of the order is given to both parties and the debt is payable immediately.
A delay in payment should not be assumed to mean that the person concerned has no intention of complying with the order. Before proceeding to enforcement you should consider the following:
- Was the other party at the hearing?
If not they may not be aware of the order.
- Have you contacted the other party?
A reminder call or letter might be all that is needed to prompt payment. This is certainly the first approach to try if you have not communicated since the hearing.
- Do you have a current address for the other party?
You will not be able to enforce the order without a current address for the other party. If your efforts to contact the other party have not received an answer, it may be because they no longer reside at that address.
If a satisfactory arrangement for payment cannot be reached, you can enforce the order in a court by lodging –
- a certified copy of the order; and
- an affidavit as to the amount not paid under the order and, if the order was to take effect on a default, information about the default.
How much will it cost to enforce my order?
There is no cost for lodging the order in a court (because of s 85(2) of the State Administrative Tribunal Act 2004)
However, the court may have costs associated with enforcing the order. You should seek advice from either the staff of that court or a legal practitioner. Methods of enforcement attract Court fees. You should, however, bear in mind that the debtor may be bankrupt or have no property or income which can be appropriated in payment of the debt.
Which is the right court to enforce my order?
The court to enforce the order depends on the value of the dispute:
- For a dispute of $75,000 or less, it is the Magistrates Court of Western Australia.
- If is more than $75,000 and not more than $750 000, it is the District Court of Western Australia.
- For any more than $750,000 it is the Supreme Court of Western Australia.
2. Non-Monetary Orders
There are claims where SAT does not order the payment of money, but orders that work be done to rectify defects in goods or services or orders that goods be returned. These ‘non monetary orders’ - are enforced in the Supreme Court.
If you wish to enforce an order in the Supreme Court, you must file all of the following in the Supreme Court:
- a copy of the decision/order that a judicial member or the executive officer of SAT has certified to be a true copy; and
- your affidavit giving details as to the non-compliance by the other parties or party to the decision/order; and
- a certificate from a SAT judicial member stating that the decision is appropriate for filing in the Supreme Court.
You can lodge a request to SAT on the eCourts Portal explaining that you wish to enforce a non-monetary order and SAT will assist in providing a certified copy of the decision/order and a certificate from a SAT judicial member stating that the decision is appropriate for filing in the Supreme Court. The correct document type for lodgement is 'Certified order request.'
After successful filing, the decision is considered to be a decision of the Supreme Court, and may be enforced in accordance with the procedures of the Supreme Court. For more information on the Supreme Court procedures, you should seek advice from the staff of the Court or a legal practitioner.
Prosecution for an Offence
If a person deliberately fails to comply with an order of the Tribunal (other than a monetary order) the Tribunal may decide to refer the matter to the Department of the Attorney General, to have the person prosecuted for committing an offence under section 95 of the State Administrative Tribunal Act 2004 (the Act). A person found guilty of an offence under s 95 of the Act may have a penalty of up to $10,000 imposed.
The decision to refer the matter for prosecution is at the discretion or the Tribunal.
3. Enforcing Procedural Orders
If a party to a proceeding fails to comply with procedural orders made by SAT leading up to a final hearing, you can request that SAT enforce the procedural order. Amongst other things, SAT can
- strike out the proceeding (s 48 of the SAT Act),
- make a costs order against the party,
- initiate proceedings for contempt against the party (s 100 of the SAT Act), or
- make an order which may lead to a prosecution for an offence (s 95 of the SAT Act),
These enforcement measures are only taken if required by the circumstances.
Review Jurisdiction Procedures
With all of these types of orders (monetary, non-monetary and procedural), there may be a different way to enforce it if the decision was part of the review jurisdiction.
SAT considers decisions made by many different government decision makers. In some situations SAT’s decision is regarded as, and given effect as, a decision of the original decision maker (see s 29 of the SAT Act for more information). The decision may be enforced as allowed under that enabling Act.
Accordingly, it can be necessary to consider the enabling act to determine the procedure for enforcement and you should consider obtaining legal advice if this applies to your situation.
As explained above, it is not a function of SAT to enforce orders. SAT also is not in a position to give a party advice about what particular type of enforcement action they should choose to take. If a party requires further information about how they should go about enforcing an order of SAT they should seek advice from the staff of the relevant court or a legal practitioner.
Last updated: 21 August 2023
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