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Administrative law

Law that regulates government decision making

Administrative law is the body of law that regulates government decision making. Access to review of government decisions is a key component of access to justice.

The Australian Government works to improve the quality of access to justice for individuals by adopting:

  • best practice in administrative decision making
  • effective review and accountability mechanisms.

The federal administrative law system

Administrative law offers accountability mechanisms that apply to government decision making about individual matters.

Accountability mechanisms include:

The Australian Government Administrative Law Policy Guide helps policy makers understand and identify administrative law issues in draft legislation or proposals.

The Attorney-General's role

The Attorney-General has policy responsibility for administrative law. This includes oversight of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and legislative instruments.

The Attorney-General's approval must be sought for amendments to Acts for which they have responsibility, particularly the following:

The Legislation Act 2003 provides for the making, registration, publication, parliamentary scrutiny and sunsetting of Commonwealth delegated legislation.

Administrative Review Council

The Administrative Review Council (ARC) was an independent policy advisory body established under the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975. The ARC issued reports and best practice guides on administrative law issues. In 2015, the ARC was discontinued and its functions were consolidated into the Attorney General's Department. The Minister for Finance announced this as part of the May 2015 Smaller Government reforms.

The ARC was not a merits review body. It did not examine individual claims or hear appeals.

For copies of the ARC's 50 published reports and other publications, including its best practice guides, visit the Administrative Review Council – Publications page.

More information

Government agencies can seek specific advice on decision-making structures, review of decisions, regulatory powers provisions and legislative frameworks by emailing Advice on matters relating to sunsetting under the Legislation Act can be sought by emailing

Contact details