Last updated 20 May 2022

click to download a pdf of this chapterAppealing against State Government Actions
Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal
Obtaining Reasons for Queensland Government Decisions
Who Can Appeal Against a State Government Action or Decision?
Applications for Review of a State Government Action
Procedure of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal
Appeal from the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal
Human Rights and Administrative Appeal in Queensland
Appealing against Commonwealth Government Actions
Administrative Appeals Tribunal
Obtaining Reasons for Commonwealth Government Decisions
Who can Appeal Against a Commonwealth Government Action or Decision?
Applications for Review of a Commonwealth Government Action
Procedure of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal

An administrative appeal is concerned with a challenge to either the merits or legal errors of an administrative decision. Administrative appeals are an important feature of administrative law, representing, along with judicial review, a system for accountability of government decision making.

An administrative appeal is different from judicial review (see the Complaints against Government—Judicial Review chapter), which considers whether the decision was lawful, and can only be successful if a decision is legally wrong. Merits review extends beyond review to a reconsideration of the decision and is concerned with what is the correct or preferable decision on the facts of the case. An administrative appeal involves a rehearing of the issues that were the subject of the original decision and, if successful, there will be a fresh decision on the evidence.

Administrative appeal processes are a low-cost, timely and independent avenue of resolving complaints between government and individuals aggrieved by government decision making.

Appeals against Commonwealth Government administrative actions or decisions may generally be made to the Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) established under the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 (Cth) (AAT Act). Legislation governing the decision or the AAT Act will set the grounds for administrative appeal, standing required by applicants, procedure and costs. In Queensland, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) has jurisdiction to undertake administrative appeals under the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld) (QCAT Act).

In both jurisdictions, an applicant with a reviewable decision may request a statement of reasons about the decision from the decision maker.

The Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld) (Human Rights Act) has changed the merits review framework in Queensland by making QCAT a public entity when exercising merits review jurisdiction, allowing applicants to piggyback human rights arguments onto their administrative appeal applications and requiring QCAT to interpret laws, including those relevant to the decision, in a way that is compatible with human rights.