Many, but not all, hearings at the AAT are open to the public.
Members of the public can usually attend hearings by coming to the AAT’s registries.
While COVID-19 impacts our services, we are conducting many hearings by telephone or video. This helps limit the number of people visiting us in person. It also means there are different arrangements for members of the public who want to attend public hearings.
This page has information about:
- what hearings are usually open to the public
- how you can attend a public hearing conducted by telephone or video.
Which hearings are usually public?
Hearings at the AAT are open to the public unless a law requires that they be in private or the presiding member decides that all or part of the hearing is to be in private.
The types of hearings that must be in private include:
- hearings in cases about protection (refugee) visas in the Migration & Refugee Division
- hearings about tax decisions in the Small Business Taxation Division and the Taxation & Commercial Division if the applicant has requested the hearing be in private
- all hearings in the Social Services & Child Support Division.
What do I do if I want to attend a telephone or video hearing?
The AAT publishes a list of hearings and other listings that will be held each day, usually by 5.00pm on the previous business day.
If you want to attend a listed hearing, send an email to the relevant registry before 8.00am (local time in the place of the hearing) telling us:
- your name
- your contact telephone number
- the file number of the case for the hearing you want to attend
- if you want to join a video hearing by telephone or by video.
Please include the words ‘Request to attend hearing’ and the file number of the case in the subject line of the email.
Where to send your request
If you want to attend a hearing in the Migration & Refugee Division, click on the registry location below to email your request.
If you want to attend a hearing in any other division, click on the registry location below to email your request.
What happens next?
Before the hearing starts
We will check if the hearing is open to the public and if it is being conducted by telephone or video. We will contact you to tell you if the hearing is private and you cannot attend.
If the hearing is open to the public, we will send you instructions about how you will join. If the hearing is by video, we will usually send you a link to join the online hearing.
The AAT uses Microsoft Teams for most video hearings. You can refer to the User guide to video hearings using Microsoft Teams.
You are responsible for any costs you incur to attend the hearing, including data or telephone charges.
At the start of the hearing
The AAT will admit you to the hearing. We will then usually identify all persons who are present, including you.
A party might ask the AAT to hold the hearing in private. If you are not present while this is discussed and the presiding member subsequently decides the hearing is to be in private, we will contact you to tell you this.
During the hearing
You must remain silent (mute any microphone) and, if the hearing is by video, hidden (keep your camera turned off) at all times to avoid disturbing the hearing.
You must not record the hearing or take any screenshots.
The AAT reserves the right to terminate your attendance at a hearing if:
- the presiding member decides that the hearing, or a part of the hearing, is to be in private
- you disturb the hearing in any way, or
- the technology becomes unstable.