About The

Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)

The AAT carries out a merits review of administrative decisions taken under the Commonwealth rules. The tribunal examines decisions taken by Australian government ministers, departments, and agencies. Additionally, they also review the decisions of state governments and non-government organizations in certain circumstances. The AAT also looks at decisions taken under the laws of Norfolk Island.

Talking about the creation of AAT, it was created by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act of 1975. The actual operations of AAT began on July 1, 1976. On July 1, 2015, the Migration Review Tribunal, Refugee Review Tribunal, and Social Security Appeals Tribunal were merged into the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Likewise, the Attorney- General’s office is in charge of the AAT. So, the media releases and announcements related to the AAT come from the Attorney-General.

Functions and Powers of AAT


The AAT can only start to review a decision if a law states that AAT has the authority to review that particular decision. Therefore, AAT is authorized to review decisions that are taken under more than four hundred Commonwealth Acts and legislative instruments.

Some common decisions AAT can review are related to the following:

  • Children support
  • Compensation of Commonwealth workers
  • Family assistance
  • Paid leave for parents
  • Social security and student assistance
  • Visas of refugees and migrants and other decisions related to visa Tax Entitlements of veterans
  • Tax
  • Entitlements of veterans

Furthermore, some more decision review areas include:

  • Citizenship and Passport of Australia
  • Bankruptcy
  • Civil aviation
  • Regulation related to corporations and financial services
  • Customs
  • Freedom of information
  • National Disability Insurance Scheme
  • Any security assessments made by the Australian Security Intelligence Organization.

Likewise, AAT can review some decisions taken under some Norfolk Island rules, such as construction, land valuation, and planning decisions.

AAT is not often the first step when a decision needs to be checked. In some instances, AAT won’t be able to review a decision until it’s been subjected to an internal review or a review by a professional body such as the Veterans’ Review Board.

AAT may also do a follow-up analysis of certain decisions made by their Social Services & Child Support Division. The General Division of AAT conducts such a second check.

Review of decisions

Decisions are reviewed “on the merits”. It means that AAT examines the related data, laws, and policies again before reaching their judgment. This is because AAT must make the legally correct decision. However, if there are multiple correct decisions, it can choose the most preferable decision.

AAT has the power to:

  • confirm a decision
  • make a different decision
  • replace a decision with a new one, or
  • reassign a decision to the decision-maker for review

AAT aims to provide a review system that is:

  • open or accessible,
  • fair, just, budgetary, and swift,
  • proportionate to the significance and complexity of the issue, and
  • suitable to foster public trust and confidence in the Tribunal's decision-making.

Furthermore, depending on the type of decision under review, the review process will differ accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) do?

The AAT administers independent merits review on decisions made by Australian Government ministers, departments, and by the state government and non-government bodies (in limited circumstances).

How long do AAT decisions take after hearing?

The AAT will inform about the decision at the hearing. If you do not hear the decision at the hearing, you will receive a notice of the decision within two months of the hearing.

What happens after winning the AAT case?

If the decision is in your favor, the case referred will either be revoked or granted by the Department of Home Affairs.

Can I appeal an AAT decision?

Yes. You can file a Notice of Appeal with the Court within twenty-eight days from the day of the AAT decision received.

How do I get started?

You can send us your contact details here. We will provide you with all the information and explain what documents you’ll need to apply.

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