“I don’t need you…or do I?”

December, 2016

By Ziv Ben-Arie, Partner

Adrigan v Owners Corporation SP83475 [2016] NSWCATAP 58


An owner builder recently failed in his defence against an Owner’s Corporation claim for defects, primarily because he was not adequately prepared and unrepresented. At the hearing, the builder sought an adjournment but the Tribunal refused that application. The builder then appealed, but the Appeal Panel upheld the Tribunal’s decision.

By failing to ensure that he was adequately prepared or legally represented at the final hearing, the builder suffered an award against it for $228,509.00, which was the entirety of the claim against it.



In their judgment, the Appeal Panel Senior Members Callaghan SC and Rosser dismissed the appeal, dismissed the application for leave to appeal, and affirmed the Tribunal’s order against the Builder.

The Principal and Senior Members concluded [at 22-23]:

“Against the background of such considerations, the interlocutory history of the matter……. it was not inappropriate for the Tribunal to have refused the Builder’s application for an adjournment.”


This case is a reminder of the importance of obtaining legal representation in any Tribunal or Court proceedings. Failure to do so means having to navigate through the specific Rules applicable to the jurisdiction with the risk of non-compliance with the ultimate risk of a judgment being made against you.

NCAT has jurisdiction to award up to $500,000 for claims. Therefore the risks of not obtaining proper legal representation at the earliest opportunity can be very high.

Contact Mills Oakley

Ziv Ben-Arie| Partner
T: +61 2 8289 5854
E: zbenarie@millsoakley.com.au

Andrew Wallis| Partner
T: +61 2 8289 5810
E: awallis@millsoakley.com.au

Peter Meades | Partner
T: +61 2 8289 5889
E: pmeades@millsoakley.com.au

Scott Laycock | Partner
T: +61 2 8035 7871
E: slaycock@millsoakley.com.au

Scott Higgins | Partner
T: +61 2 8035 7872
E: snhiggins@millsoakley.com.au
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