BUSINESSES Australia-wide should benefit from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal’s (AAT) creation of what is being called a ‘rocket docket’ to speed up commercial decision making.
AAT, the tribunal that reviews certain decisions made by Federal Government regulatory bodies, will use the rocket docket to accelerate decisions that have significant commercial ramifications and those relating to the accreditation, licensing or registration of individuals or companies.
McCullough Robertson Lawyers corporate advisory team partner, Sean Robertson said the new system was expected to “greatly expedite the hearing of those appeals” and businesses Australia-wide would benefit from the introduction of an expedited appeals process to overcome current delays of often a year or more.
“My clients often want to appeal regulatory decisions, but the time spent getting the decision to an AAT hearing generally makes an appeal pointless from a commercial perspective,” Mr Robertson said.
“We are hopeful that the introduction of the rocket docket will change that.”
Many of Mr Robertson’s clients are in the agribusiness sector, producing and distributing wine, olives, cotton, timber, poultry, cattle, almonds, flowers, sugar, water and grain. Delayed decisions can have dramatic impacts on these businesses.
Mr Robertson, a regular lecturer on compliance with the Corporations Act 2001 and financial services generally, has published many papers and articles and he also co-authored A Practical Guide to Managed Investments published by the Law Book Company, which is now in its third edition.
The AAT is a quasi-judicial body responsible for reviewing certain administrative decisions of organs of the Federal Government, and arriving at what is often termed in judgements as the “correct and preferable” decision.
The tribunal reviews a wide array of administrative decisions, including those by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
The AAT’s Annual Report for 2012-2013 revealed that in that year, 60 percent of matters progressed to a hearing within 40 weeks of lodgement, and that the AAT generally aimed to finalise the majority of applications within 12 months of lodgement.
The AAT has sought public comment on the proposed docket. The draft can be found on the AAT’s website at http://www.aat.gov.au/.