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22 Jan 14
New ‘rocket docket’ promotes swifter decisions on commercial matters at Administrative Appeals Tribunal

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Businesses as well as the legal profession will benefit from the creation of a new ‘rocket docket’ to expedite hearings at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

Background
The AAT reviews certain decisions made by Federal Government regulatory bodies including the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

The rocket docket attracts decisions that have significant commercial ramifications, and those relating to the accreditation, licensing or registration of individuals or companies.  In a move which will please businesses, it is expected to greatly expedite the hearing of those appeals.

Companies often want to appeal regulatory decisions, but having to spend up to 12 months getting the decision to an AAT hearing generally makes an appeal pointless from a commercial perspective.  The introduction of the rocket docket may change this.

The AAT is a quasi-judicial body charged with responsibility for reviewing certain administrative decisions of organs of the Federal government, and arriving at the ‘correct and preferable’ decision.  The Tribunal reviews a wide array of administrative decisions, including those by ASIC, APRA, and the ATO.

The AAT’s Annual Report for 2012-2013 revealed that in that year, 60 percent of matters progressed to a hearing within 40 weeks of lodgement, and that the AAT generally aimed to finalise the majority of applications within 12 months of lodgement.

Public comment
The AAT has sought public comment on the proposed docket, the draft of which can be found on the AAT’s website at www.aat.gov.au.
 

Focus covers legal and technical issues in a general way. It is not designed to express opinions on specific cases. Focus is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice. Further advice should be obtained before taking action on any issue dealt with in this publication. 

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