The Courts have finally made a decision on the vague and hard-to-understand time limitation for review applications to the AAT.
The Full Court of Federal Court of Australia decides that:
I conclude that when s 66(2) uses the word ‘state’ it means that the notification must set out the information in each of the subsections in a way which is not only complete (as Zhan holds) but clear as well. This required the letter of 3 February 2017 annexed below clearly to convey to the Appellant that the period in which she could seek review ended on 13 March 2017.
The Applicant was successful in arguing that they had not been properly notified of the refusal decision. As such, the time had not started running yet.
What happened in this case?
She was sent the refusal notification by pre-paid post. The law states that she is deemed to have received the letter 7 working days after the date of the document. She then had to lodge an application for review within 28 days, commencing on the day she is deemed to be notified.
Does that sound confusing?
Well, the court held that all this information was not clearly stated and included within the decision letter. This information was spread across 3 different pages and 3 different sections. A proper notification of the decision needed to be set out in a way which is not only complete but also clear.
The judge held that:
“This required the letter of 3 February 2017 annexed below clearly to convey to the Appellant that the period in which she could seek review ended on 13 March 2017.”
So what does this mean?
This creates a large window for any person who may be confused with their review rights and have missed out on the deadline to lodge a review application to the Tribunal.
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