Administrative Review Reform Issues Paper
The Law Council of Australia provided a submission to the Attorney-General’s Department in response to its comprehensive Administrative Review Reform Issues Paper (Issues Paper), which responds to each of the 67 questions set out in the Issues Paper in table form.
The enclosed submission includes the following key points that I wish to highlight at the outset.
- Accessibility, independence and impartiality must underpin all aspects of the new body. The new body must also prioritise rigorous and accurate decision-making, and most importantly (and by consequence of these principles), fairness.
- The re-establishment of an adequately funded Administrative Review Council (or similar body) is strongly supported and should aim to be an appropriate mechanism for the facilitation of ongoing, objective and apolitical review of the performance and integrity of Australia’s administrative review system.
- The new body must be properly resourced, with an appropriate number of suitably skilled and qualified members to be able to carry out its functions. A simplification in structure, compared with the existing divisional structure of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), is supported as that would assist in facilitating an efficient and effective merits review body.
- There is a need for increased efforts to achieve simplification, efficiency and better coherence of procedures. In particular, the backlog of migration matters would be reduced if the Codes of Procedure for migration and refugee matters as set out in the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) and the Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth) were removed altogether.