The following article provides an update on our article published 21 March 2016 titled ‘ACT Case note: Recovering costs in levy recovery matters’.

In The Owners – 840 v Richardson [2015] ACAT 77 Member Daniels determined that awarding legal costs in levy recovery proceedings was contrary to the provisions in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008 (ACAT Act). Pursuant to section 48 of the ACAT Act the Tribunal can only award costs in limited circumstances. Since Richardson the situation on whether legal costs can be awarded in levy recovery proceedings has been uncertain.

Due to pressure from ourselves and another legal services provider and to resolve the uncertainty the Tribunal established a Ruling Tribunal to determine the question. The hearing, where we appeared through Counsel on behalf of our Owners Corporation clients, was held on Friday 17 February 2017 before Presidential Member McCarthy, President Neate and Senior Member Fergusson.

At the hearing there were no appearances or submissions from any respondent. The Tribunal directed a series of focused questions to Counsel relating to the Tribunal’s power to award legal costs as an expense pursuant to section 31 of the Unit Titles (Management) Act 2011, when expenses are deemed to be incurred and therefore recoverable and the reasonableness of such expenses

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