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What is a hearing?

The hearing is an opportunity for you, a representative of the delegate of the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection (the Minister) and any other party, to present information and talk about the 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.

In many reviews, it will be in a hearing room at an AAT office. You might be able to attend the hearing in person, by telephone, or by videoconference. You should tell us your preference when you lodge the application.

Who will be at the hearing?

As well as you, there will be:

  • the Member(s)
  • an AAT staff member
  • a representative of the delegate of the Minister.

There might also be:

  • your representative, such as a lawyer or other professional person
  • a support person such as a friend or family member
  • any witnesses that you or the Minister's representative have asked to give evidence.

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, we’ll arrange and pay for a qualified interpreter to attend the hearing. A relative or friend is not permitted to interpret for you.

Is my hearing open to the public?

Yes, hearings are usually open to the public. We can order that the hearing be held in private, but only if there is a good reason to do so. You can apply for such an order by telling us in writing why you require a private hearing.

How can I prepare for a hearing?

  • if the application has been expedited, check the Expedited review of decisions under section 501 or 501CA of the Migration Act 1958 fact sheet
  • 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
  • tell us if you would like a witness to attend or if you require an interpreter
  • give us any new information, no later than 14 days before the hearing
  • you can send us a written summary of your position no later than 7 days before the hearing
  • read all the documents you have been given as part of the review and write down the arguments you want to present
  • make sure you have all the documents at the hearing.

 Providing information for expedited reviews

At least 2 business days before the hearing, you must give the Minister’s representative:

  • written statements of what you and any witnesses are going to say at the hearing
  • any documents you want to be considered.

If you do not do this, the evidence cannot be considered when making a decision about the review. You should use the contact details in the letter the Minister’s representative sent to you.

What happens at a hearing?

  • you will be asked to take an oath or make an affirmation
  • if represented by a professional person such as a lawyer, your representative will usually talk on your behalf
  • the Member might ask the Minister’s representative to talk briefly about the main issues in the review
  • you will have an opportunity to present information and arguments about the decision under review and the Member and the Minister’s representative can ask you questions
  • if there are any witnesses, they will be asked to give evidence. You, the Minister’s representative, and the Member can ask questions of each witness
  • you and the Minister’s representative will have an opportunity to give a brief summary of all the main arguments in the review
  • the length of the hearing will vary depending on the circumstances of the review
  • 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, or we might 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. Such a  request must be made within within 28 days after you were notified that the application was dismissed.

If the application is not reinstated, the Minister’s 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 or videoconference.

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 if you do not want to attend the hearing and, if you and the Minister’s representative agree, we might make a decision based on the information we have.

However, 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?

You can usually inspect a transcript held by the AAT if one was produced as part of deciding the review.

Otherwise, 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 form.