The AAT appeared before the Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee on 14 April 2021. The Registrar responded to questions about the payment of part-time members and provided evidence about various long-standing arrangements in place in our different divisions for administering the payment of fees to part-time members. These arrangements reflect the different ways in which the divisions organise members to undertake work for the Tribunal and the varying caseloads.
Part-time members in the Social Services & Child Support Division (SSCSD) and a small cohort of part-time members in the Migration & Refugee Division (MRD) work on a sessional basis and are paid when a case is finalised. Standard durations of time have been set for reviews that are dealt with by these members. A specified fee is certified as reasonable to cover the preparation, hearing and decision-writing for most reviews, irrespective of the dates on which the work is carried out. The duration of time allowed for activities has been set by reference to the Tribunal’s statutory objectives to provide a mechanism of review which is fair, just, economical, informal, quick and proportionate.
A member who is paid under this pay structure is not paid less if a case is finalised more quickly than the allocated time. Conversely, they do not receive additional remuneration in respect of a case if they work more than the allocated time assigned to that case, except in limited circumstances.
The work to deal with a case may take place over a period of time. A claim for payment is triggered when the case is finalised. This means the payment may be processed in a different financial year to when most of the work was undertaken or when the case was actually finalised.
Part-time members play an important role in helping the AAT achieve its objective and are paid for the work they undertake in accordance with the arrangements explained in the Registrar’s evidence.
Further information about member remuneration can be found on the Remuneration Tribunal website.