It is important to us that you are able to fully participate in the review and present your case.
Our processes are informal and user-friendly. You can deal with us directly and represent yourself if you wish.
However, you may want assistance and support with your review.
Can I represent myself?
Yes, you can represent yourself.
If you have questions about the review process, you can ask us. If we cannot answer your question, we may be able to tell you about where you can find other help.
If you would like to find an advocate in your area you can Ask Izzy, via the Department of Social Services.
If you are representing yourself, someone from one of our registries may contact you, either by telephone or in writing, shortly after we receive your application to talk about the review process.
Representing yourself means that:
- we will send any correspondence to you directly and not to any other person
- you will be required to attend all case events yourself.
Can I have a support person?
You may ask a trusted family member or friend to be a support person. You will still be representing yourself, but this person may support you through the review process.
A support person may:
- help you understand the review process
- attend case events with you
- assist you to apply for legal assistance or find a disability advocate.
Can I ask someone to represent me?
Yes, you can ask someone else to represent you. Your representative could be a lawyer, a disability advocate or a trusted family member or friend. They should not have a financial interest in the outcome of your review.
If you appoint a representative, you must give us their name and contact details. You can do this as part of your application for review or by email or letter after you have lodged your application. You must tell us if there are any changes to your details or your representative’s details.
We will send any correspondence to your representative instead of you unless you tell us you also want copies of all correspondence.
Advocate / non-legal representative
An advocate or representative represents you and may speak, write, or act on your behalf in your case. You and your advocate or representative will need to agree on what they can and cannot do for you.
An advocate or representative may:
- receive correspondence on your behalf
- assist you at case events
- assist you to gather evidence to support your case
- attend on your behalf at case events if:
- you are unable to attend
- you have discussed your matter with them beforehand
- have given them clear instructions about your wishes.
An advocate or non-legal representative may not give you legal advice or do any work that may amount to legal practice.
The National Disability Advocacy Program provides independent advocates as a free service.
Your advocate or representative should be independent and not have a financial interest in the outcome of the review.
We encourage you to find a representative who is independent and does not receive funding under your plan to provide you with services. Having a service provider represent you can lead to a potential conflict of interest if they, or the organisation they work for, are likely to receive funds from your plan. It is preferable for a service provider to provide a report as an expert witness. Read the Persons Giving Expert and Opinion Evidence Guideline for more information. If they also act as an advocate, this may impact how the AAT views their report or evidence if the case goes to a hearing.
You may be represented by a lawyer who will act on your behalf. You may engage a lawyer privately and pay them to represent you. You may be eligible for Legal Aid to pay for a lawyer to represent you.
Legal aid commissions provide a range of services, including information, legal advice and representation in courts and tribunals. Information and services including telephone advice are often free of charge.
National Legal Aid has links to the Legal Aid office in each State and Territory.
Where can I get more help with my review?
We can help you understand the review process, but we cannot give you advice about your case, pay for someone to assist you or recommend a particular individual or organisation to help you.
Can I have an interpreter?
Yes. If you need an interpreter, please let us know. We will arrange for a qualified interpreter to assist, free of charge.
For immediate assistance in your language, please contact Automatic Translating and Interpreting Service (ATIS) on 131 450. For National Relay Service, please contact 133 677.
If you have a preferred Auslan interpreter or have additional requirements for your interpreter, please provide those details as well as any relevant contact details to us in writing as soon as you can. It is not always possible for us to book your preferred interpreter.
You cannot have a relative or a friend act as your interpreter during case events.
Is there help available for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples?
There are Aboriginal Legal Services in each state and territory that may be able to refer you to appropriate assistance:
How do I tell the AAT if I need help to participate in the review process because of a disability?
If you need any necessary accommodations or assistance to enable you to participate effectively in the review process because of a disability, please contact us as soon as possible. We will try and make arrangements to help you.
Where can I find other types of support?
You, your family or friends may need other types of support. The organisations listed below provide help to people in need.
- Lifeline – provides 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. Ph: 13 11 14.
- 1800 RESPECT – provides 24 hour support to people impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse. Ph: 1800 737 732.
Didn’t find the right support for you? Here is some more information about mental health services that might be useful.
Can I get help with costs?
The Attorney-General's Department might be able to help with some of the costs of preparing for the review.
Find more information about receiving financial assistance by checking the Attorney-General's Department fact sheets: