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Administrative Review Council publications

The following publications were released by the Administrative Review Council between 1978 and 2012.

Publications not held on this page (including annual reports, administrative law bulletins and letters of advice) are available from the National Library of Australia's Trove archive.

Best practice guides and other publications


The best practice guides and associated materials are still regarded as good policy. However, they have not been updated to reflect any changes in case law or relevant legislation.

What decisions should be subject to merit review? 1999

In the course of advising the Attorney-General on the classes of administrative decisions that should be subject to merits review, the Administrative Review Council developed principles which it applied to each class of decision under consideration.

Administrative Review Council Best Practice Guide 1 - Lawfulness

Guidelines
The best practice guide provides an overview of the legal requirements for lawful decision making, including requirements that have developed through the grounds for judicial review.

Administrative Review Council Best Practice Guide 2 - Natural Justice

Guidelines
The best practice guide provides an overview of the legal requirements for lawful decision making, including requirements that have developed through the grounds for judicial review.

Administrative Review Council Best Practice Guide 3 - Evidence Facts and Findings

Guidelines
This guide deals with the role of primary decision makers when receiving evidence, determining questions of fact and accounting for their findings.

Administrative Review Council Best Practice Guide 4 - Reasons

Guidelines

Looks at the requirements of two important Commonwealth Acts that impose on many decision makers a duty to provide reasons for their decisions.

Administrative Review Council Best Practice Guide 5 - Accountability

Guidelines

Outlines a range of administrative law accountability mechanisms that can be used to review primary decisions; this includes judicial review, merits review,

Practical Guidelines for preparing statements of reasons

Guidelines
There are many benefits in requiring reasons for decisions, whether viewed from the perspective of the individual affected, the decision maker or the broader community.

Commentary on the Practical Guidelines

Guidelines
Administrative Review Council publication - a commentary on the Practical Guidelines for preparing statements of reasons.

Administrative Review Council guide to standards of conduct for Tribunal members

Guidelines
The Guide was first published by the Council in 2001, and this revised version is intended to promote interest in, and discussion and awareness of, standards of conduct for tribunal members.

Automated assistance in administrative decision-making

Consultation or review
Issues paper exploring recent trends in government administration implementing specialised computer programs, or expert systems, to assist decision makers in performing their responsibilities. 

Legal Training for Primary Decision Makers

Guidelines
The Curriculum Guideline sets out the core elements of law for use in the training of primary decision makers. Agencies will be able to develop training programs reflecting their own needs and circumstances.

Reports and guidance material 1978-2012

Report 50 - Federal Judicial Review in Australia 2012

Report
In September 2012, the final report into Australia's judicial review system was published. It makes a number of recommendations aimed at improving the accessibility and efficiency of federal judicial review.

Report 49 - Administrative accountability in business areas subject to complex regulation 2008

Report
The report focuses on accountability and transparency in the development and application of business rules, and covers regulation by government agencies, self regulation by industry bodies and other non-government entities.

Report 48 - The coercive information-gathering powers of Government Agencies 2008

Report
In this report the Council describes a range of best-practice principles it considers will ensure that agencies use coercive information-gathering powers effectively, efficiently and with due regard to individual rights.

Report 47 - The Scope of Judicial Review 2006

Guidelines
The purpose of the discussion paper is to explore the desirable balance between the right of an individual to test the legality of administrative action by way of judicial review and the need to ensure that as a result of the exercise of this right, the work of government is not unreasonably frustrated.

Report 46 - Automated Assistance in Administrative Decision Making 2004

Report
The report contains best practice principles for the development and operation of expert computer systems used to make or assist in the making of administrative decisions. 

Report 45 - Report on the Council of Australasian Tribunals 2002

Report
Report on the Council of Australasian Tribunals, 2002. The Council was established in Melbourne on 6 June 2002 at a meeting of Commonwealth, State, Territory and New Zealand tribunal presiding officers.

Report 44 - Internal Review of Agency Decision Making 2001

Report
The Report, which included a Best Practice Guide, was tabled in Parliament on 28 March 2001. It provides a framework for agencies to review existing internal review practices.

Report 43 - Administrative Review of Patents Decisions 1998

Report
This report makes recommendations that may be summarised as favouring merits review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal of most of the decisions of the Patents Commissioner.

Report 42 - The contracting out of Government Services 1998

Report
The report contains recommendations relating to: the preparation of appropriate contracts; and, the application of both private and administrative law in situations where services are provided by private contractors.

Report 41 - Appeals from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to the Federal Court 1997

Report
In the report, the Council recommends the scope of review under section 44 should remain unchanged, and the Federal Court's powers be expanded slightly, to give it a discretion to receive evidence and to make findings of fact where there has been an error of law.

Report 40 - Open Government: a review of the federal Freedom of Information Act 1982 1995

Report
The report contains 106 recommendations, designed to give full effect to the Australian people's right of access to government-held information. Recommendations were made to ensure that the Freedom of Information Act 1982 is interpreted in a way that gives proper effect to its objectives.

Report 39 - Better Decisions: review of Commonwealth Merits Review Tribunals 1995

Report
The report contains 102 recommendations. The first 86 concern matters of general application to all tribunals and the last 16 recommendations concern the structure of the review tribunal system, and the relationship between its constituent parts.

Report 38 - Government Business Enterprises and Commonwealth Administrative Law 1995

Report
The report set out general principles to assist the Government to determine how the Commonwealth's administrative law package should apply to Government Business Enterprises.

Report 37 - Administrative Review and Funding Decisions (A Case Study of Community Services Programs) 1994

Report
The report divided the various programs and funding arrangements into those which the Commonwealth funds. The Council examined the appropriate form of review for the different types of programs, and sought to draw out general principles for review.

Report 36 - Environmental Decisions and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal 1994

Report
The Council made nine recommendations for reform in the report. They were not as broad in scope as the preliminary views expressed in the discussion paper due to the views expressed during the consultation process, and the intervening reform of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal practices and procedures.

Report 35 - Rule-making by Commonwealth Agencies 1992

Report
The report contains 31 recommendations concerning procedures in respect of instruments that are of a legislative character. After substantial revisions, the Legislative Instruments Bill 2003 was passed on 2 December 2003.

Report 34 - Access to Administrative Review by Members of Australia's Ethnic Communities 1991

Report
Survey results undertaken for the report showed widespread ignorance of the existence of administrative review agencies;, and a limited understanding of the concept of administrative review, A second survey after the intervention activities showed that educating this sector of the Australian community had been substantially met.

Report 33 - Review of the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act: Statements of Reasons for Decisions 1991

Report
The report contains 26 recommendations, and was transmitted to the Government on 14 February 1991.

Report 32 - Review of the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act: the Ambit of the Act 1989

Report
The report contains 17 recommendations. The Government decided that it would not respond to this report, until the Council's report on statements of reasons had been completed.

Report 31 - Review of Decisions under Industry Research and Development Legislation 1988

Report
The report examines discretionary powers under Industry Research and Development Legislation. The report contains 14 recommendations, most of which recommend that particular decisions ought to be made subject to review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Report 30 - Access to Administrative Review: Provision of Legal and Financial Assistance in Administrative Law Matters 1988

Report
In the report, the Council makes seven recommendations and was referred to the National Legal Aid Advisory Committee, in accordance with the Council's recommendations. The NLAAC reported to the Government on Legal Aid for the Australian Community in July 1990.

Report 29 - Constitution of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal 1987

Report
The report deals with five principal matters. Issues arising were subsumed into the review of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The Council provided a submission to that review in March 1991.

Report 28 - Review of Customs and Excise Decisions: Stage 3 Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Duty Decisions 1987

Report
The report contains eight recommendations, and was transmitted to the Government on 6 February 1987, and tabled in the Parliament on 3 June 1987.

Report 27 - Access to Administrative Review: Stage One Notification of Decisions and Rights of Review 1986

Report
The report set out the Council's views on notification of administrative decisions and rights of review in respect of those decisions. It contains five recommendations, the fifth being for a Code of Practice for administrators in relation to notification of decisions and rights of review.

Report 26 - Review of Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977: Stage 1 1986

Report
This report constituted the first stage of a major examination of the operation of the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 ('AD(JR) Act').

Report 25 - Review of Migration Decisions 1985

Report
The Council considered that there was a need for a system of external review on the merits to be available in respect of many migration decisions. The Council also specified the classes of decisions that it considered should be subject to review, in accordance with the proposed two-tier structure of merits review.

Report 24 - Review of Customs and Excise Decisions Stage 4: Censorship 1985

Report
The report contains five recommendations. In February 1990 the Customs (Cinematograph Films) Regulations and the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations were amended to give effect to Council's recommendations.

Report 23 - Review of Customs and Excise Decisions: Stage 2 1985

Report
The report contained several recommendations . The Government deferred its decision on the report, pending an Australian Law Reform Commission report on its Customs and Excise reference.

Report 22 - The Relationship Between the Ombudsman and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal 1985

Report
The report has three parts; the legislative inter-relationship between the Ombudsman and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The issue of whether the Ombudsman and the AAT should have overlapping jurisdictions. Options for reform, with a view to improving the relationship between the two bodies.

Report 21 - The Structure and Form of Social Security Appeals 1984

Report
The report contains 20 recommendations for reform. The Council recommended the improvement of the existing two-tier structure of external review to consist of a single national Tribunal (rather than the existing Social Security Appeals Tribunals, with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal providing review at a second tier.

Report 20 - Review of Pension Decisions under Repatriation Legislation 1983

Report
The report contains 21 recommendations. The Council's primary recommendation was that the repatriation jurisdiction currently vested in the Repatriation Review Tribunal be absorbed into the Administrative Appeal Tribunal's ('AAT') jurisdiction.

Report 19 - Interim Report on the Constitution of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal 1983

Report
The report set out the Council's two options for reform, and recommended - the second option, to allow the AAT in its Migration Act 1958 jurisdiction to be constituted by a presidential member.

Report 18 - Compensation (Commonwealth Government Employees) Act 1971 - Amendments 1983

Report
In its report, the Council identified several problems with the operation of the Compensation (Commonwealth Government Employees) Act 1971 ('Act'),

Report 17 - Review of Taxation Decisions by Boards of Review

Report
The Council's main recommendation was that the existing review jurisdiction of the Boards of Review should be vested in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ('AAT'). The Taxation Boards of Review (Transfer of Jurisdiction) Act 1986 substantially implemented the recommendations made by the Council.

Report 16 - Review of Decisions under the Broadcasting and Television Act 1942

Report
The report contains eight recommendations. The Broadcasting and Television Amendment Act 1985 implemented only part of the one recommendation contained in this report.

Report 15 - Australian Federal Police Act 1979: Sections 38 & 39

Report
The Council recommended the adoption of Commonwealth Employment (Retirement and Redeployment) Act 1979 provisions for the Australian Federal Police, and the reshaping of the Promotions Appeals Board.

Report 14 - Land Use in the ACT

Report
The report contains 12 recommendations, however the report was not implemented before moves were made towards self-government for the ACT.

Report 13 - Commonwealth Employees' Compensation Tribunal

Report
The report discusses: primary decision-making by the Commissioner for Employees' Compensation; the current review process; incorporation of the Commonwealth Employees' Compensation Tribunal ('CECT') into the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ('AAT'); and, modifications to AAT procedures.

Report 12 - Australian Broadcasting Tribunal Procedures

Report
The Council made 34 recommendations in the report including, among other things, recommendations: on the initiation of inquiries by the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal ('ABT').

Report 11 - Student Assistance Review Tribunals

Report
The report contains nine recommendations. The Council did not recommend transfer of the Student Assistance Review Tribunal ('SART') jurisdiction to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ('AAT') at that stage, but recommended changes to improve the SART's procedures.

Report 10 - Shipping Registration Bill

Report
The Council made eight recommendations, concerning: whether the appropriate body to hear appeals should be the Administrative Appeals Tribunal or the courts.

Report 9 - Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Amendment Bill 1980

Report
The Council noted that some exclusions in the Bill appeared to be inconsistent with the bases of the Council's previous recommendations in Report No. 1. This report contains a total of six recommendations.

Report 8 - Social Security Appeals

Report
The Council concluded that, in principle, every decision that related to the making of a social security payment or assistance, should be subject to external review by an independent tribunal with adequate fact-finding powers and procedures, and with the authority to determine issues conclusively.

Report 7 - Citizenship Review and Appeals System

Report
The report contains recommendations on the first part of the Council's examination of immigration and citizenship decisions.

Report 6 - Entry to Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island

Report
The Council made identical recommendations in respect of both the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island. It noted that permanent residents of Australia and Australian citizens were entitled, in some situations, to seek the protection, by an appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ('AAT'), against orders for their deportation from Australia under the Migration Act 1958.

Report 5 - Defence Force Ombudsman

Report
The Council considered whether it was appropriate for a separate Ombudsman to be established, if their procedures and powers were to be virtually the same as those of the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Report 4 - Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 Amendments

Report
The Council's recommendations for: the extension of the power to grant stays of decisions; the time for furnishing reasons and documents; and, its recommendations on the constitution of the Council, were accepted and implemented in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Amendment Act 1979.

Report 3 - Review of Import Control and Customs By-Law Decisions

Report
In its report, the Council recommended that jurisdiction be vested in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ('AAT') to review; decisions allocating quotas, decisions refusing to accept an application for by-law entry of goods, and refusals of the Minister to refer a by-law question to the Industries Assistance Commission.

Report 2 - Repatriation Appeals

Report
In the report, the Council supported a link between the proposed Repatriation Review Tribunal and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ('AAT'). It also supported many of the existing proposals for reference of matters from the specialist tribunal to the AAT.

Report 1 - Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 exclusions under Section 19

Report
In the report, the Council identified particular classes of decisions for exclusion from the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977