Appeal an ACAT decision
You can appeal an ACAT decision on a question of fact or law. An appeal must be lodged 28 days after the decision is made.
An appeal often proceeds as a review of all or part of the original decision made by ACAT.
In limited situations, the appeal proceeds as a fresh hearing of the case. This means the Appeal Tribunal will consider all the issues as if the case was being heard for the first time, and may consider evidence that was not originally provided.
The Appeal Tribunal decides at the beginning of the appeal process whether the appeal will proceed as a review of the original decision or a fresh hearing.
To appeal some ACAT decisions you will need to go to the ACT Supreme Court.
Before you apply
Can I appeal to ACAT?
To appeal some decisions made by ACAT, you will need go to the ACT Supreme Court. This includes ACAT decisions made under the:
- Freedom of Information Act 2016
- Heritage Act 2004
- Planning and Development Act 2007
- Tree Protection Act 2005.
If you want to appeal a decision of the ACAT Appeal Tribunal, you will also need to go to the ACT Supreme Court.
In most cases, an application for appeal against a decision of ACAT may be lodged at ACAT. That appeal will be heard by an Appeal Tribunal.
How long do I have to make an application?
An application for appeal must be made no later than 28 days after the original ACAT decision is made.
If you are still within the 28-day timeframe, but need more time to lodge an application, you can ask for an extension in writing and tell us:
- the nature of the case
- the issues in the case
- the reasons why an extension of time should be granted (for example, you are waiting for written reasons for the decision being appealed).
This request for more time will usually be decided by ACAT in chambers (without a hearing).
If you are outside the 28-day timeframe, you can apply for permission (leave) to appeal on the application for interim or other orders form, and include:
- a written statement about the nature of the case, the issues in the case, and the reasons why leave to appeal should be given
- the draft application for appeal.
The application for permission to appeal will be given to the respondent or respondents by ACAT. It will also be scheduled for a hearing before an ACAT Member. You will not be charged a fee for this application, unless leave to appeal is given.
If leave is given, the usual appeal fees will need to be paid.
Is my decision automatically stayed?
Lodging an application for appeal does not automatically stay (stop) the original ACAT decision. This means that the decision will still be ‘in effect’.
If you want to request a stay, fill in the ‘interim or emergency orders sought’ section on your application for appeal.
If you ask for a stay, ACAT will usually write to the respondent or respondents to ask if they will agree to the stay until the initial directions hearing. If the respondent does not consent, ACAT will schedule the case as early as possible for a short hearing to consider granting a stay of the decision.
Is there a fee to lodge an application?
There is a fee to lodge an application for appeal, unless you have an exemption, waiver or deferral.
Are there any other fees?
If you need a transcript of the original hearing, you will need to buy it from the transcription service, unless you have an exemption or waiver.
If you want ACAT to issue a subpoena you will need to pay a fee, unless you have an exemption, waiver or deferral.
There may also be a hearing fee if your matter is scheduled for more than one day of hearing.
You can find a list of ACAT fees in the fee summary.
Know the reasons for the decision
If ACAT made a decision in your case but did not provide reasons, you can ask for written reasons for the decision within 14 days after the decision is made.
You may want to request reasons before you appeal. A request for reasons does not stay or extend the 28-day appeal period. You will need to consider whether to request an extension of time to appeal until you receive the reasons for decision and can review the grounds of appeal.
How to make an appeal
To make an appeal you need to:
- review the before you apply information
- fill in the application for appeal form
- attach a copy of the order which sets out the decision being appealed
- lodge the application in person or by mail, ensuring all details are completed clearly and in full
- pay the fee, unless you have an exemption, waiver or deferral.
Remember to check whether you:
- are within the timeframe for making the application
- need to request a stay of the decision
- need to request an urgent order
- need to request reasons for the decision being appealed
- need to buy a transcript of the original hearing
- need to get legal advice or authorise someone to represent you.
If you have new or ‘fresh’ evidence for your appeal (in other words, evidence that was not given at the original hearing), you will need to fill in an application for interim or other orders form. When you complete this form, you should:
- attach a copy of the additional evidence you want to rely on
- request permission to lodge the new evidence
- provide reasons why the evidence should be lodged in the case, and tell us why this evidence was not before ACAT when the original decision was made.
You can get legal advice about the appeal application. You may also authorise someone to represent you at the hearing of the appeal. ACAT staff can provide you with procedural advice, but cannot give legal advice.
If your appeal application is urgent, fill in the ‘interim or emergency orders sought’ section on your application for appeal. You must include details of the orders you are requesting ACAT to make.
If you have already lodged your application, complete an application for interim or other orders form. You will need to set out what orders you are requesting and why.
It is important that you give as many details as possible when making a request for urgent orders.
ACAT will give a copy of your application to any other parties and seek their views. ACAT may then make the orders in chambers (without a hearing) or schedule the case for an urgent interim hearing.
Responding to an application
If you receive a notice that you are required to attend ACAT for an appeal that you did not commence yourself, you are a respondent. This notice will tell you when you need to attend ACAT. It will also tell you what you will be attending for, such as a directions hearing.
ACAT will also give you a copy of the appeal application. The application will have information about:
- who are the parties in the case (individuals or companies)
- the contact details for the parties and any representative they have
- details of the original ACAT decision
- the reasons for the appeal
- the orders sought (to replace or vary the orders made originally by ACAT).
You should consider the appeal application and:
- the documents about the appeal
- the errors of fact or law claimed by the appellant
- whether to lodge a cross appeal
- the decision you think should be made at the appeal (for example, should the original decision be confirmed, and what arguments do you have to support this?).
You can get legal advice about the appeal. You may also authorise someone to represent you.
ACAT staff can provide you with procedural advice, but cannot give legal advice.
Resolving your case
An initial directions hearing will usually be held to make directions to prepare the case for hearing. The directions will set out what each party is required to do.
ACAT may hold a final directions hearing about a week before the hearing of the appeal. This is an opportunity to ask questions about the hearing process.
The case will be heard by an ACAT Appeal Tribunal. At the end of the hearing, the ACAT Member/s will indicate if they can deliver a decision immediately, or if they need to reserve the decision to be handed down later.
If you think that the Appeal Tribunal has made an error when making the decision, you can consider appealing to the ACT Supreme Court.