What is administrative law?
Administrative and regulatory law is the area of law that relates to government decision making. In Australia, our government is made up of numerous regulatory authorities or agencies.
The decision-making powers of regulatory authorities reside in:
- The common law (that is, law established by decisions made by courts and tribunals); and
- Legislative instruments (laws passed by Parliament).
If you disagree with a decision made by a regulatory or government body, you may be able to dispute it, which may result in a different decision being made.
How to dispute a decision
Depending upon the circumstances, you can have a decision reviewed by:
- Requesting the government or regulatory body to review its decision; or
- Applying to have the decision formally reviewed in the relevant court or tribunal.
Our expert team can talk you through the step-by-step process of challenging a decision made by a government or regulatory agency and act on your behalf to challenge a broad range of administrative decisions.
The review process
While every case is different, there are some common elements to having a decision reviewed.
Here are some of the steps you're likely to go through during the lifespan of a review of a government or regulatory agency’s decision.
A decision is made by a government or regulatory body
The first stage of the review process involves a decision being made by a government or regulatory body.
You get a certain timeframe in which to challenge it
You'll have a set timeframe in which you can lodge an application to have the decision formally reviewed. It's imperative to act within this timeframe or you won't be able to challenge the decision. You should seek independent legal advice as soon as possible for this reason. Our team can help you determine if you have a good chance of successfully challenging the decision.
You lodge an application to have the decision reviewed
Your application to have the decision reviewed must include an outline of why you think the decision in question should be reviewed. Our team can assist you in preparing your application to help you achieve a favourable outcome.
You may lodge an application to 'stay' or suspend a decision
Even if you apply for a decision to be reviewed, that decision still stands and takes effect until the relevant court or tribunal has determined the outcome of your application. If you do not want the decision to take effect, you must also apply for a temporary suspension of the decision so that the regulatory authority or agency cannot implement it. This application is distinct and separate from an application to have the decision reviewed. We can assist you with this application to 'stay' a decision. Bear in mind that at some stage there will be a hearing to determine whether the decision will be suspended. It's important to understand that this hearing does not affect the final outcome - only whether or not the decision will be suspended until the outcome of your application for a review of the decision is determined.
You prepare your case for the hearing
Depending on the nature of your application, you and the government agency in question will each have an opportunity to present the court or tribunal with documents, materials and evidence which are relevant to the review of the decision. We can assist you in preparing your case and review the materials that the government agency has provided, as well as advise what further information the court or tribunal may need for the review.
You attend the hearing
After both parties have provided the court or tribunal with their evidence, the matter will be scheduled for a hearing. At the hearing, both parties will present their case. After the hearing is finished, the court or tribunal will review the case and, at a later date, decide whether the decision made by the government agency will stand or whether a new decision will be made.
You may appeal the decision if you are not happy
You or the government agency may have the right of appeal if it can be shown that the court or tribunal in question made an error in the way it applied the law to the facts of your case or in the processes it followed. We can assist you with preparing an appeal, where appropriate, and help you understand your appeal rights.
The laws applied by regulatory authorities can be complex and far reaching. But your legal costs don't have to be.
When you work with us, we'll provide you with full cost estimates before we do any work, and we will only proceed once you have agreed to them. We will continue to update you on all associated costs throughout the lifespan of your case.
Our 'fee for service' structure means you'll simply pay as you go. No matter what type of administrative and regulatory law dispute you need help with, we will provide complete transparency when it comes to legal costs. Contact us about your case today and we'll discuss your options.