On 1 July 2015, the Migration Review Tribunal (MRT), Refugee Review Tribunal (MRT) and Social Security Appeal Tribunal (SSAT) merged with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) under the Tribunals Amalgamation Act 2015.
The most significant impact of the Tribunals Amalgamation Act 2015 on Family Law is in relation to the appeals process for Child Support decisions. Under the recent changes, decisions that were previously reviewed by the SSAT will now be reviewed by the AAT Social Services and Child Support Division. Furthermore, appeals from a ‘child support first review’ conducted by the AAT will now be heard by the Federal Circuit Court and can then be appealed to the Federal Court of Australia.
Prior to 1 July 2015, appeals from the SSAT were heard in the Federal Circuit and decisions of the Federal Circuit Court were then appealed to the Full Court of the Family Court. It is important to note however that the Family Court will continue to have jurisdiction to hear appeals from the Federal Circuit Court that were lodged prior to 1 July 2015.
A recent parliamentary media release said that “this is the biggest reform to the Australian administrative law system since the AAT was established in 1975 as a generalist merits review tribunal with broad jurisdiction”. It is anticipated that bringing the tribunals together will enhance access to justice through the provisions of a single, simple point of contact for users of the tribunal.
Please contact Nicholes Family Lawyers for expert advice in relation to Child Support matters.