The Administrative Decisions Tribunal Bill 1997: Commentary and Background
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Advice on legislation or legal policy issues contained in this paper is provided for use in parliamentary debate and for related parliamentary purposes. This paper is not professional legal opinion.
Briefing Paper No. 10/1997 by Honor Figgis
- The Administrative Decisions Tribunal Bill 1997 establishes an Administrative Decisions Tribunal (ADT), that will have jurisdiction to review the merits of administrative decisions, and to vary or set aside a decision that is not the correct or preferable decision in the circumstances. The ADT will also have jurisdiction to make some original decisions adjudicating disputes between persons, or between persons and professional bodies. Jurisdiction is conferred on the ADT by the cognate Administrative Decisions Legislation Amendment Bill 1997 (p 4).
- The ADT Bill creates a scheme of review for persons who are adversely affected by a range of government decisions. The essence of the scheme is that a person affected by a decision may request reasons for the decision from the administrator. If dissatisfied with the reasons, the person can apply for the decision to be reviewed internally. If the person is still aggrieved after internal review, he or she can apply to an independent tribunal, the Administrative Decisions Tribunal (ADT) for review. A decision of the ADT as to the merits of the original decision may be appealed to an Appeal Panel of the ADT. A decision of the Appeal Panel may be appealed to the Supreme Court on a question of law (pp 9-11).
- The ADT will initially consist of 4 divisions: a General Division, a Community Services Division, a Legal Services Division and an Equal Opportunity Division. It will eventually have jurisdiction in a wide range of fields to hear appeals from on the merits of administrative decisions, and to make some original adjudicative decisions. The Government will undertake a review of almost all administrative decisions that may be made in New South Wales to determine which ones should be reviewable on their merits (pp 19-27).
- The briefing paper looks at some of the main features of the proposed ADT -its structure, procedures, provision for legal representation of parties, the circumstances where the ADT must give effect to government policy, the membership of the tribunal, and the relationship between the ADT and the Ombudsman (pp 10-18).
- The briefing paper discusses the proposed review and original jurisdiction of the ADT, and some possible criteria for determining its future jurisdiction. The extent of the possible jurisdiction for the ADT indicates that it may become an umbrella tribunal -a single tribunal determining a wide range of disputes between individuals and government, between individuals, and between individuals and professional bodies (pp 19-27). This will make the ADT an unusual tribunal compared with the administrative appeals tribunals established in other jurisdictions.
- Some implications of the ADT for the future role of the New South Wales court system are considered (pp 29-30).