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Review of decisions in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal

If you are not satisfied with a decision made by Comcare’s Reviews Team, you may appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (the AAT) for a further independent review of the decision. You will need to prepare an Application for Review form which you can find on the AAT’s website. For information about a solicitor who may be able to help you, contact the Law Society in your state or territory.

The AAT is an independent body that will look at your claim again and make a decision on the evidence before it. The AAT essentially ‘stands in the shoes’ of Comcare’s decision makers. The AAT also has a number of powers that Comcare does not, such as the power to summons medical records or to require a person to give evidence.

At the AAT, Comcare is represented by a lawyer. That lawyer may be from Comcare’s internal team of lawyers or may be from a law firm engaged by Comcare to represent it. It is not a requirement that you have legal representation at the AAT; the AAT process is designed to allow anyone to appear before it.

There are a number of informal steps that occur at the AAT before a matter is ultimately decided. These include:

  • A preliminary conference. This is run by an AAT Conference Registrar and both parties appear. The purpose of a preliminary conference is to determine where the matter is up to, for instance whether further information is needed or whether the parties are ready to progress to the next stage.
  • Return of summons. This occurs when one of the parties (usually Comcare) has asked the AAT to issue a summons on a person to produce records. These are usually medical records.
  • Conciliation conference. This is a more formal conference designed to assist the parties to either resolve the matter, or to determine what the issues are which will need to be determined by the AAT at a hearing.

Not all of these steps occur in every case.

If you are unable to come to an agreement with Comcare about the outcome of your case, it will proceed to a hearing in the AAT. A hearing usually involves the claimant (you) giving evidence; it may also include doctor’s evidence or evidence from your employer. After the hearing the AAT will make a decision on the merits of your case.

Page last updated: 04 Apr 2014