Last updated 20 May 2022

The appeal options from a decision in an administrative review depends on whether the the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) decision maker was a judicial or non-judicial member.

Judicial members include the president and deputy president of QCAT, a supplementary member who is a Supreme and District Court judge. A non-judicial member includes senior and ordinary members who are not former judges, and adjudicators. The vast majority of QCAT decisions in administrative review matters are non-judicial members.

Where the decision was made by a non-judicial member, the first stage of appeal is to the QCAT Appeal Tribunal. There is a right to bring an appeal that raises a question of law. If the appeal is about a question of fact or a question of mixed law and fact, leave (permission) will be needed to undertake the appeal (s 142 Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld) (QCAT Act)). It can be difficult to work out whether the problem with a decision involves a question of law or a question of fact, or both, and legal advice may be needed.

Where a decision was made by a judicial member, the appeal goes straight to the Queensland Court of Appeal. Appeals to the Court of Appeal are only permitted on a question of law or with leave from the court (s 149 QCAT Act).

The president of QCAT may also transfer an appeal to the QCAT Appeal Tribunal to the Court of Appeal in certain circumstances (s 144 QCAT Act).

In most cases, an appeal to the QCAT Appeal Tribunal or the Court of Appeal must be made within 28 days of notice of the decision, whether written reasons were provided or not (ss 143, 151 QCAT Act; ch 18 Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld)).


Each party generally pays for their own legal costs in QCAT, regardless of whether they win or lose. QCAT will only order a party or their representative to pay the legal costs of the other party if it is in the interests of justice. Circumstances in which costs may be ordered include where an offer to settle the dispute has been made and not accepted, a party has vexatiously conducted proceedings or failed to attend a conciliation or mediation.