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Report No. 272

E. Tribunal System in Australia

2.24 Tribunals form an important part of the Australian judicial system. They provide citizens with an independent and impartial review of Government decisions that affect their interests. They also reduce the burden on a congested Civil Court system. They provide relatively simple, low-cost access to a swift and fair justice service to the citizens and corporations across Australia.39

39 The Development of Tribunals in Australia, available at: tribunals-in-australia/ (last visited on 07-08-2017).

2.25 In 1975, the Australian Government established the Administrative Appeals Tribunal as a general Administrative Tribunal to review a broad range of Government decisions which include social security, veterans entitlements, Commonwealth employees compensation, taxation, migration, freedom of information, corporations, insurance, fisheries and many other areas. Other Administrative Tribunals established by the Commonwealth include the Social Security Appeals Tribunal, the Veterans Review Board and the Migration and Refugee Review Tribunals, National Native Title Tribunal and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal.

2.26 There is a range of Tribunals in the States which review administrative decisions of the Governments. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has jurisdiction to determine a wide range of private disputes. The Administrative Decisions Tribunal in New South Wales has a limited jurisdiction in relation to private disputes. Tribunals such as the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal of New South Wales are primarily concerned with resolving private disputes such as building and tenancy disputes.

Commonwealth Tribunals are strictly Administrative Tribunals whereas the State Tribunals are both Administrative as well as Civil.40 In several Australian States like Queensland and New South Wales, Tribunals function as the equivalent of a Small Claims Court. The Court of Appeal is a division of the Supreme Court which hears all appeals from the Supreme and District Courts as well as various Tribunals.41 Some of the Acts and the Tribunals functioning thereunder are set out herein below:

40 Tribunals in Australia: Their Roles and Responsibilities, available at: aat/engagement/speeches-and-papers/the-honourable-justice-garry-downes-am-formerpre/ tribunals-in-australia-their-roles-and-responsib (last visited on 07-08-2017).

41 Queensland Court's, available at: (last visited on 07-08-2017).

Name of Acts


Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act, 1975 Administrative Appeal Tribunal
Equal Opportunity Act, 1984 Equal Opportunity Tribunal
Migration Act, 1958 Migration Review Tribunal
Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act, 2013 New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal
Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal Act, 1993 Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal
Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act, 2009 Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal
State Administrative Tribunal Act, 2004 State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia
Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act, 1998 Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal
Workers Rehabilitation and Conciliation Act, 1988 Workers Rehabilitation and Conciliation Tribunal

Assessment of Statutory Frameworks of Tribunals in India Back

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