Last updated 20 May 2022
Applications for review of a decision must be in writing or, where the decision is reviewable in the Social Services and Child Support Division, may be made in writing, orally, in person or by telephone to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) registry (s 29(1) Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 (Cth) (AAT Act)). Application forms are available on the AAT website or from the registry and clearly identifies the information that must be provided to the AAT.
The statement of reasons must accompany the AAT application (s 29(1)(c) AAT Act) except if the application is oral or a review is sought under certain provisions of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (Cth).
Applications must be accompanied by the application fee where applicable. The standard application fee is $962. However, in many instances no fee is payable, and fees may be refunded if an applicant is successful. A fee that is otherwise payable may be reduced to $100 by the AAT including where it would cause the person financial hardship to pay the fee, legal aid is granted, the applicant is in prison or otherwise detained, in receipt of Centrelink benefit or aged under 18 years old. Information about fees and a request for fee reduction are available on the AAT website or from the registry.
The time limit for lodging an application is generally 28 days after the applicant receives the written decision (s 29(2) AAT Act). Where the written decision does not set out findings on the material questions of fact and reasons for the decision, or written reasons have not been provided but have been requested in accordance with s 28 of the AAT Act, different time limits may apply.
Where the decision sets out the findings on material questions of fact and the reasons for the decision
The applicant must apply to the AAT within 28 days of being given the decision.
Where the decision does not set out findings on material questions of fact and the reasons for the decision and a statement in writing is given without the applicant having requested a statement of reasons under s 28(1) of the AAT Act
The applicant must apply to the AAT within 28 days of being given the statement in writing.
Where the decision does not set out findings on material questions of fact and the reasons for the decision and the applicant requests a statement of reasons under s 28(1)
The applicant must apply to the AAT within 28 days of being given the statement of reasons under s 28(1) of the AAT Act or being notified that a statement will not be given.
In any other case where the decision does not set out findings on material questions of fact and the reasons for the decision and a document setting out the terms of the decision is given to the applicant
The applicant must apply to the AAT on the day the document is given to them.
Similar time limits apply where a decision maker is deemed to have made a decision with the AAT application generally required within 28 days of the deemed decision or 28 days of the provision of a statement in writing, statement of reasons or refusal to provide reasons (s 29(3) AAT Act).
Where there is no prescribed time limit, for example because the decision is not recorded in writing and set out in a document provided to the applicant, or because the enabling legislation does not set a time limit (e.g. requesting a first review of a Centrelink decision), the AAT application must be made within a reasonable time (s 29(4) AAT Act).
The time for lodging an application can be extended if the AAT is satisfied that it is reasonable in all the circumstances to do so (s 29(7) AAT Act).
After a valid application is made, the AAT notifies the decision maker that an application has been made (s 29AC AAT Act). Under s 37 of the AAT Act, the decision maker is required to provide to the AAT and the applicant, within 28 days after receipt of the notice under s 29 of the AAT Act, a copy of all documents considered to be relevant to the review of the decision. These documents are referred to as the ‘T documents’ by the AAT. The T documents must also be provided to each party to the proceeding or their representative.