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If a party believes an AAT decision is wrong, they can appeal the decision to a higher court. Parties may appeal to either the Federal Circuit and Family Court or the Federal Court depending on the type of decision being appealed.[1]

An appeal to a higher court can only be about a question of law. This means that you or your representative must consider that the AAT made a mistake in law when deciding your case.

This is different to questions of fact. If the AAT has made findings about the facts in your case, the Court will not assess those findings.  A finding of fact usually concerns a judgement on whether something happened or will happen, and is separate from any judgement about the legal consequence of the fact.[2]

More information about the difference between questions of fact and questions of law in the context of the AAT is available on the Federal Court’s website.

Different timeframes for lodging an appeal apply depending on the type of decision. For more information on timeframes, visit steps in a review, click on the decision type of interest and then on decision.

We recommend people seek legal advice if they are considering appealing an AAT decision to a higher court.

[1] Section 44AAA of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975

[2] Aronson, Dyer and Groves Judicial Review of Administrative Action 3rd Ed. Lawbook Co 2004, 184