Native Title; and Taxation.
There are two fundamental elements in Australian administrative law—judicial review and merits review. Judicial review is concerned with the legality of administrative decisions, and is the sole province of the courts.
Merits review is concerned with the substance of a decision and is carried out by various review bodies. Reasons for decisions lie at the heart of administrative decision-making. A statement of reasons should provide fairness by enabling decisions to be properly explained and defended and will assist the person affected by a decision to decide whether to exercise rights of review or appeal.
Australian law does not yet recognize a general duty to give reasons for administrative decisions. However, there are legislative provisions which encapsulate an obligation to provide reasons. Brief Introduction Australia, as a former British colony, inherited the legal system of England.
Until the middle of the s, the Australian system of administrative law was very much like the system in England. Most administrative decisions were taken within government Departments.
Some administrative decisions were capable of being reviewed by specialist tribunals, particularly where rights of individuals were involved. Some decisions were only able to be challenged through the courts. Over many years the courts had established a set of criteria which were applied to test whether an administrative decision was affected by error of law.
Overall, Australian citizens had no realistic or affordable means to challenge administrative actions or decisions. Access to redress via the courts, through a judicial review process, was marked by rigidity and the inherent danger that justice could be denied by a technicality.
The system was time consuming and often expensive. Administrative decision-making in the modern State has grown exponentially since the s and is often very complex. Most citizens are subject to a number of administrative decisions each year.
One thinks of taxation assessments, social security decisions, licensing, educational and health matters, immigration and the like. Those in Government in Australia began thinking about whether final decision-making on administrative matters affecting private rights should appropriately be made in secret, without reasons, and without opportunity for review on the merits.
The Australian Government set up a number of Committees to consider the existing mechanisms for review of administrative decisions. It would eventually be copied at the State level. One of the most significant recommendations of these Committees was that there should be a general tribunal with power to reconsider afresh most Commonwealth administrative decisions.
The recommendation was for reconsideration of the merits. The newly created tribunal would be able to choose freely between all the decisionmaking options available to the original decision-maker and exercise all the discretions conferred on that decision-maker.
The recommendations of the Committee ultimately led to the establishment of four acts of the Commonwealth Parliament. In the s, the reform agenda for Administrative Law broadened to incorporate government accountability to citizens: This was demonstrated by the introduction of the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act What Is Administrative Law Administrative law is the body of law which provides the mechanisms for challenging and regulating government decision making.
In short, it is a system underpinned by three broad principles: Administrative Law and Decision Making There are five core elements within the category of administrative law and decision making: There are two main aspects of the concept of natural justice: A person should be given the opportunity to be heard before a decision that could adversely affect him or her in an individual way is made.Vacuum is an international rapid publications journal with a focus on short communication.
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