In any community living dispute, the preferred way to resolve the issues at first instance is for the parties to discuss the matter. Where that fails the issues may be brought to the forum of a body corporate meeting for open discussion.
Should there still be no agreeable outcome, recourse is available by way of a dispute resolution application to the Office of the Commissioner, Body Corporate and Community Management (BCCM) (see Department of Justice and Attorney General website:DEPT OF JUSTICE). The Commissioner's Office holds exclusive jurisdiction in most disputes involving bodies corporate, and a certificate from the Commissioner is usually needed prior to any referral to a Court of Law.
Recent legislative changes require the mandatory use of conciliation prior to any referral of disputes by the Commissioner's Office for adjudication.
Conciliation in effect is a directed round table discussion with all the parties present and preferably in person, but it may take place by telephone link. Like any alternative dispute resolution process, it requires a degree of compromise by all the parties to reach a settlement. Failing any willingness to compromise, conciliation will not succeed.
It is important to note that where Conciliation has run and a resolution has not been reached the matter is referred to adjudication. An application for dispute resolution by an Adjudicator often requires expert legal assistance to frame your complaint in the correct way so as to obtain the result that you require. Herdlaw - The Body Corporate Lawyers have extensive experience in body corporate matters involving dispute resolution in all forums.
Contractual disputes may be referred to a Specialist Adjudicator (if jointly appointed and the costs are agreed between the parties) or to the Queensland Civil and Administrtive Tribunal (QCAT). These are referred to as complex disputes, which are for example:
a) Review of Caretaker remuneration;
b) Review of service contract terms;
c) Adjustment of contribution lot entitlements;
d) Transfer of Management Rights disputes;
e) Reviews of exclusive use by-laws.
Another role of the QCAT is to hear and decide appeals against adjudication decisions of the BCCM on a question of law. In some instances matters may also be referred to the District and Higher Courts.
Matters regarding enforcing an Adjudication Order are brought before the Magistrates Court.
To find out more about the role of the Commissioners Office CLICK HERE...