Education Amendment Act 2015

29 New sections 238J to 238M inserted

After section 238I, insert:

238J International Student Contract Dispute Resolution Scheme

(1)

This section establishes the International Student Contract Dispute Resolution Scheme.

(2)

The purpose of the DRS is to resolve contractual and financial disputes between international students (and former and prospective international students) and providers.

(3)

Every provider that enrols, intends to enrol, or has enrolled international students is subject to and must (in relation to any contractual or financial dispute with an international student or a former or prospective international student) comply with the rules of the DRS prescribed under section 238M.

(4)

The Minister—

(a)

may, by notice in the Gazette, appoint a person or an agency to be responsible for administering the DRS; and

(b)

must take reasonable steps to ensure that there is at all times a person appointed to be responsible for administering the DRS.

(5)

A student claimant may lodge with the DRS operator for resolution under the DRS any contractual or financial dispute with a provider, but only if—

(a)

the provider has been given an opportunity to resolve the dispute, but the claimant is not satisfied with the process, the outcome, or both; or

(b)

the provider has failed to, or has refused to, try to resolve the dispute.

(6)

The resolution of a dispute is binding on all parties to the dispute if—

(a)

it is the outcome of an adjudication of the dispute by or on behalf of the DRS operator; or

(b)

it is produced by a mediation undertaken by or on behalf of the DRS operator whose outcome the parties to the dispute have agreed will be binding.

(7)

The DRS operator—

(a)

may charge fees to a student claimant, the provider concerned, or both, according to the rules of the DRS prescribed under section 238M; but

(b)

(notwithstanding those rules) may in its absolute discretion partially or completely exempt any person, or persons of a particular description, from the payment of fees.

238K Cap of $200,000 on amount that can be required to be paid

In resolving any dispute, the DRS operator—

(a)

must not require a provider to pay to a claimant in relation to any particular claim any amount exceeding $200,000; but

(b)

may charge the provider fees in addition to any amount required to be paid.

238L District Court to enforce DRS

(1)

The District Court may,—

(a)

on the application of the student claimant or the DRS operator, make an order requiring a provider to comply with the rules of the DRS or to give effect to any resolution that is binding under section 238J(6); or

(b)

on the application of the provider or the DRS operator, make an order requiring a claimant to give effect to any resolution that is binding under section 238J(6).

(2)

If an order (or part of an order) requiring the provider to comply with the resolution requires the provider to pay any sum of money to any person, that order (or part) may be enforced as if it were a judgment by the District Court for the payment of that sum of money to that person.

(3)

If the District Court is satisfied that the terms of the resolution of a dispute by the DRS operator are manifestly unreasonable, the court may modify the resolution before giving effect to it.

(4)

Subsection (3) overrides subsections (1) and (2) and section 238J(6).

238M Rules of International Student Contract Dispute Resolution Scheme

(1)

The Governor-General may, by Order in Council made on the recommendation of the Minister, prescribe rules for the functioning and administration of the DRS.

(2)

The Minister must not recommend the making of an order without consulting any relevant bodies and sector representatives he or she thinks appropriate.

(3)

The rules may prescribe fees, or a means by which fees can be calculated or ascertained.