The Office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management (often referred to as the BCCM Office, or Commissioner’s Office) is a statutory entity. The main two purposes of the Commissioner’s Office that have relevance to most people is that it provides information on body corporate issues (but not legal advice), and it provides a dispute resolution service.
The information that the Commissioner’s Office can give is only related to the body corporate legislation. They can only tell you what is in the legislation and give information about what is in it such as meeting processes. This is not legal advice, and their information is necessarily limited. For example, if you have a question, they will give you information relevant to your question, but it is not advice about what you should do.
It is important to seek legal advice if you have a dispute, as the body corporate legislation is only one source of rights. You may still have other legal, equitable, and statutory rights that the Commissioner’s Office cannot advise you on. In one of our matters, we know that the Commissioner’s Office told someone that a conflict of interest under the body corporate legislation only prevents a committee member from voting on an issue at a committee meeting.
This is true, but only under body corporate legislation – in certain circumstances, it could be a breach of fiduciary duty to vote in conflict of interest at a general meeting, and it may also impact on the reasonableness of a body corporate’s decision. You should always seek legal advice, as the body corporate legislation only contains part of the law.
The Commissioner’s Office also provides a dispute resolution service. If you have a dispute in relation to a body corporate issue, you should always attempt to resolve the issue yourself. For example, you could try talking to the other person, and request that they undertake certain steps to resolve the dispute. If that doesn’t work, it might be appropriate to use the Commissioner’s Office’s conciliation service. This is a form of mediation where the parties can work out their issues and attempt to come to an agreement.
If conciliation doesn’t work, then a party may make an application for adjudication, but they must show their attempts at self-resolution. If your application is accepted, you will then undergo the dispute resolution process where other affected parties will be entitled to make their own submissions in relation to the dispute. Eventually the adjudicator will consider all material and make an order. This order is enforceable in Queensland courts and can only be appealed to QCAT on an issue of law.
This article is intended as general information only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. For specific legal advice please contact us here.