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Appealing to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal

For: Claimants Employers and managers Advocates

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) can undertake an independent merits review of a reviewable decision made under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988.

Tribunal functions

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) is an independent body that reviews a wide range of administrative decisions made by Australian Government ministers, departments and agencies.

Regarding claims, the AAT:

  • looks at the evidence on your claim and decides whether a correct decision has been made
  • has powers that the claims manager does not have, such as the power to summons medical records or to require a person to give evidence.

For more information on the role of the tribunal visit Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

When you can appeal

If you are not satisfied with a determination that your claims manager has made on your claim, you should first ask for a reconsideration of the determination. This review is undertaken by an independent review officer who works in a different area than your claims manager.

If you are dissatisfied with the decision by the independent review officer, you can apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) to have the decision reviewed.

The time limit to apply for a review by the AAT is 60 days after you are given notice of the decision.

The appeals process


The process normally includes:

  • A preliminary conference. This is run by an Administrative Appeals Tribunal Conference Registrar and both parties appear. The purpose of a preliminary conference is to determine where the matter is up to. This includes determining if more 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 the claims manager) has asked the tribunal 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 help the parties either resolve the matter or agree on the issues which need to be determined by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) at a hearing.

Not all of these steps occur in every case.


If an agreement can’t be reached about the outcome of your case during the pre-hearing, it proceeds to a hearing in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

A hearing usually involves you giving evidence.

It may also include evidence from medical practitioners, your employer and other witnesses.

Legal representation

You do not need to have legal representation at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). However, other parties may be represented by a lawyer at the AAT. If you would like the assistance of a lawyer you can contact the Law Society in your state or territory.

If your claim in managed by Comcare, Comcare is represented by a lawyer from our internal team or from a law firm engaged to represent us.

Decision of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal

When the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) hears your case, it can decide to:

  • affirm the decision, which means the decision made by the review officer does not change
  • vary the decision, which means the decision made by the review officer is changed or altered in some way
  • set aside the decision, which means that the decision made by the review officer is changed in part or full, or
  • send a decision back to the review officer to make a new decision.
Page last reviewed: 16 December 2019
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Date printed 24 Jan 2022