The information in this fact sheet relates to applications in the AAT’s Freedom of Information Division, General Division, National Disability Insurance Scheme Division, Security Division, Small Business Taxation Division, Taxation & Commercial Division and Veterans’ Appeals Division.
What is a summons?
A summons to produce documents is a legal notice issued by the AAT which requires you to give us the documents or things specified in the summons.
A summons is usually issued at the request of a party to the review, but we can also decide to issue a summons ourselves without a request from a party. We issue a summons if we think the documents are relevant to what the AAT must decide in a review.
It is a criminal offence if you do not comply with a summons that has been properly given to you, unless complying with it might tend to incriminate you.
How do I comply with the summons?
If you have received a summons, you must give the AAT the documents or things on or before the due date specified in the summons.
You can give us copies of the documents unless the summons states that original documents are required. If you give us original documents, you should tell us this when you give us the documents.
You should include a copy of the summons with the documents that you give to us.
You can produce the documents to the AAT by:
If you have any questions about what documents you are required to produce, contact the person who requested that the summons be issued. Their contact details can be found at the bottom of the summons form.
If you cannot lodge the documents before the due date specified in the summons, you should contact us.
If you do not have any of the documents listed in the summons, you must write to us and tell us this before the due date.
Will I be paid anything to comply with the summons?
You are entitled to be paid reasonable expenses for complying with the summons. This usually includes costs associated with copying and/or sending the documents to the AAT.
The expenses must be paid to you by:
- the party who requested that the summons be issued, or
- the AAT if we issued the summons without a request from a party.
You must be paid the expenses when you are given the summons or within a reasonable time before the due date specified in the summons.
If you think the amount of expenses paid to you is not enough, you must still comply with the summons. You should contact the person who must pay the expenses and discuss the amount. If you cannot reach agreement about the amount of the expenses, you can ask the AAT to decide the amount of expenses you should be paid.
How do I object to a summons?
You might want to object to:
- producing documents specified in the summons, or
- a party inspecting documents you give to the AAT.
If you think you should not be required to produce any or some of the documents specified in the summons, as soon as possible after you receive the summons:
- contact the person who requested that the summons be issued and talk to them about it
- if you cannot reach agreement and you want the AAT to make an order that you are not required to produce the documents, you must apply to the AAT. You should send us a letter explaining which documents you object to producing and why.
If you want the AAT to make an order that a party not be allowed to inspect some or all of the documents, you must also apply to the AAT. You should send us a letter when you give us the documents explaining which documents you do not want to be inspected by which party and why.
We might hold a directions hearing before we make a decision.
If the documents you are giving the AAT contain private information about a person who is not a party to the review, you might want to tell that person that you are giving the documents to us. That person can then decide if they want to object to the summons or inspection of the documents.
What happens to the documents produced to the AAT?
Unless the AAT orders otherwise, the parties to the review will be able to inspect and make copies of the documents or things produced in response to a summons. We might give the parties access to the documents electronically.
Will the summons documents be returned to me?
When the review or any appeal relating to the review has been finalised, the AAT will destroy documents that have been produced in response to a summons unless:
- they are original documents, or
- you have requested that the documents be returned to you.