Administrative law is that area of law governing the relationship between the people and the State or Government, where decisions are made that affect the rights or right of a person. Generally, it involves the challenging of decisions of government officers, departments or authorities. The exercise of a power by a person exercising that power pursuant to statute may also be subject to administrative law. Administrative law decisions are generally known as administrative decisions, not all of which are open to challenge. Examples of the types of decisions that are open to challenge are:
1. Decisions by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs not to grant a disability pension to a veteran pursuant to service in a war zone;
2. decisions by Centrelink not to pay a pension or benefit;
3. decisions to take disciplinary action against a solicitor, medical practitioner, surveyor or other professional person in a regulated profession;
4. decisions by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade regarding export market development grants; other decisions by Government Ministers;
5. decisions by ASIC that a person is a banned person pursuant to the Act.
This list is not exhaustive, but rather illustrative of the types of decisions that may be subject to challenge.
There are several types of “review” of administrative decisions:
1. Reconsideration by the original decision-maker, generally after further information is put before them or they are invited to look at the information in a different way;
2. statutory right to review of the decision on the merits of the case, either internally or externally, where the decision-maker can affirm the decision or set aside the decision and make another decision;
3. review by an administrative tribunal;
4. judicial review by a court; or
5. making complaint to the relevant Ombudsman.
You will only have a right to a review of an administrative decision on the merits if an Act or Regulation gives you that right. So not all decisions can be challenged.
What we do in this area:
1. Advice on decisions and actions taken by Governments;
2. Applications and appeals to Commonwealth, State, local government and tribunals for authorisations, permits and licences;
3. Challenging Government decisions or actions—by internal, external or judicial review pursuant to:
o Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 (Cth)
o Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 (Cth) and the various Commonwealth Acts over which the Tribunal has jurisdiction
o Judiciary Act 1903 (Cth)
o Judicial Review Act 1991 (Qld)
o Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (Cth)
4. Appearance and legal representation before:
o trade and professional disciplinary boards and tribunals
o public service boards
o commissions of inquiry