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What is a hearing?

The hearing is an opportunity for you, and any other party, to present information and arguments to the AAT about the Child Support decision under review.

The hearing is relatively informal and will usually be conducted by one Tribunal Member. The Member is the person who will make a decision about the review.

You can watch our video guide for more information about what happens during a hearing. 

When and where will the hearing be held?

We will write to you to tell you the date, time and location of the hearing.

It might be in a hearing room at an AAT registry or you might attend the hearing by telephone, or by videoconference. You should tell us your preference when you lodge the application.

If there is a current family violence order against you, you will usually be required to attend the hearing by telephone.

Who will be at the hearing?

As well as you, there will be:

  • the Member(s)
  • any other person who is a party to the review.

Services Australia (the Agency) does not usually attend the hearing.

If you want a representative to make submissions on your behalf, a request must be made in writing at least 21 days before the hearing. You can complete the Request for representation form.

You must also tell us if you want the following people to attend the hearing at least 14 days before the hearing:

  • a support person such as a friend or family member
  • any witnesses you want to give evidence.

The Member will decide who can be present during the hearing, In deciding this, the Member must take into account the wishes of the parties and the need to protect their privacy.

Children cannot give oral evidence at the hearing and will not be permitted in the hearing room.

How to address members

You may address an AAT member by:

  • their title (e.g. Deputy President, Senior Member, or Member)
  • name (e.g. Ms. Smith), or 
  • a combination of both (e.g. Senior Member Smith).

Some members of the AAT are judges, including the President. They may be addressed as ‘Your Honour’. The President may also be addressed as ‘President’.

A member’s title and name will usually be displayed in the hearing room, directly in front of the member. 

Can I have an interpreter for the hearing?

Yes. If you need someone to interpret for you, tell us and we will arrange and pay for a qualified interpreter to attend the hearing. A relative or friend is not permitted to interpret for you.

Is the hearing open to the public?

No. The hearing will be held in private and members of the public cannot attend.

How can I prepare for a hearing?

  • record the date, time and place for the hearing
  • plan to arrive early on the day or be ready to receive the call at the start time
  • give us new information, by the date we tell you
  • read all the documents you have been given and write down the things you want to talk about
  • make sure you have all the documents at the hearing.

What happens at a hearing?

  • the Member will explain what will happen during the hearing
  • you will be asked to take an oath or make an affirmation that you will tell the truth at the hearing
  • the Member will talk about the documents sent to you by the Agency and any new information given to us
  • you will have an opportunity to explain why you agree or disagree with the decision under review and the Member will ask you questions
  • you cannot question another party or a witness but you can ask the Member to put a question to them.

The length of the hearing might be up to 1 hour, but it can be longer.

You might receive our decision at the end of the hearing, or at a later date.

We will make an audio recording of the hearing.

What happens if I do not attend a hearing?

We might:

  • dismiss the application if you are the applicant, meaning it will be brought to an end
  • remove you as a party to the review if you are not the applicant, or
  • make a decision without you.

If the application is dismissed because you did not attend the hearing you can ask us to reinstate the application. A request must be made within 28 days after you were notified that the application was dismissed.

If the application is not reinstated, the decision remains unchanged and we cannot review the decision.

Change of hearing date

If you cannot attend the hearing you should tell us as soon as possible. We might be able to change the hearing date or allow you to attend by telephone.

A request to change the date of the hearing should:

  • be made in writing
  • explain why you cannot attend
  • include any supporting documents, such as a medical certificate.

The date of the hearing will only be changed if there are very good reasons to do so. If we do not agree to change the date, the hearing will go ahead as planned.

What if I do not want to attend a hearing?

You can tell us you do not want to attend the hearing and we might be able to make a decision based on the information we have.

If you do not attend the hearing you will not be able to tell us your version of events.

Access to hearing information

Can I access a recording of the hearing?

No, we will not provide you with a recording of the hearing.

Can I access a transcript of the hearing? 

Yes, but only if you apply to a court about the AAT decision or make an application for us to conduct a second review of the decision.

You must order a transcript of the hearing by lodging a request form directly with Epiq:

You must pay the cost of obtaining a transcript. Charges are set by Epiq and are detailed on the forms.