Review of government agency decisions

Learn about reviewing a government agency decision and the application process.

QCAT plays a key role in improving the openness, accountability, quality and consistency of government decision making. If you feel that a state government agency decision is incorrect you can apply for a review of the decision, if a law says that QCAT can review the decision.

What is the review process?

Generally, you may apply to QCAT to conduct a review of your case where you have been issued with a reviewable decision from a government agency.

Before making an application to QCAT, you should read the decision letter from the relevant agency to confirm your right of review at QCAT.

QCAT reviews various state government decisions. This means that QCAT takes a fresh look at the relevant evidence and arrives at its own decision. QCAT must make the legally correct decision based on the merits of the case and how the legislation applies in the person’s circumstances. QCAT cannot work outside of the relevant legislation and can only make a decision that the original decision maker could have made.

QCAT has the power to:

  • send the case back to the original decision maker for reconsideration
  • affirm a decision from the original decision maker
  • vary a decision from the original decision maker
  • set aside a decision from the original decision maker and substitute a new decision

After the review, QCAT can also make recommendations to the relevant decision maker about their policies, practices and procedures to improve future decisions.

When a review case is brought to QCAT, the original decision maker must endeavour to help QCAT in the review. This includes:

  • providing QCAT with a written statement of reasons for the original decision
  • providing any document or thing in the decision maker's possession or control which may be relevant
  • providing additional statements of further particulars as required by QCAT

At any stage of the proceeding, should the government agency not provide relevant material, or if you consider there is further evidence for QCAT to consider, QCAT can ask the government agency for this material after your application is filed.

No, Commonwealth Government agency decisions may be reviewed by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. For example:

  • Centrelink (Services Australia)
  • Child Support (Services Australia)
  • Department of Home Affairs (Immigration)
  • Comcare
  • Department of Veterans' Affairs (including Military Rehabilitation & Compensation Commission and Repatriation Commission) or the Veterans' Review Board

You can check the decision letter of the original decision maker (government agency) to find out if there is a time limit and what the limit is.

Generally, you need to apply to QCAT for a review of a decision within 28 days from when you are notified of the reviewable decision. However, if you have asked the decision-maker in writing for the reasons for the decision, you must apply to QCAT within 28 days of receiving the reasons, or within 28 days of the date the decision-maker was required to provide you with the reasons, whichever is earlier.

If the government agency offers an internal review before coming to QCAT, the time limit will commence when you are provided with the internally reviewed decision. Check the decision letter that is issued to you by your agency for further details.

There are also some exceptions to the 28 day rule, so please check your decision letter, or contact the relevant government agency for information about the time limit that applies in your case.

It is important that you apply to QCAT for a review of a decision within the review time limit.

If however, due to circumstances outside your control or other reasons, your application to review a decision has not been made within the required review period of 28 days (or other review period), in some cases you can ask QCAT for permission to extend the statutory time limit.

QCAT will consider your application, but it is not obliged to grant the extension.

When you apply to QCAT for the review, you must also complete an application to extend the statutory time limit. You must also give a copy of the application to extend the review time limit along with the review application, to the other parties.

Please select your case type below to view a copy of the relevant extension request application form.

The time for QCAT to finalise a case may vary depending on QCAT’s workload and the number of steps to be completed by parties as required by QCAT to resolve the dispute . The current average time to review and finalise your case in the general administrative reviews jurisdiction can be found on our expected timeframes page.

How do I make an application to review a decision?

To make an application, please select your case type from the list below:

Help and further information

You can access a range of databases which keep records of previous administrative review decisions. This includes previous decisions from:

QCAT registry staff cannot give you legal advice in civil cases and are not involved in QCAT decision making.

For legal advice

For assistance in legal proceedings

LawRight Court and QCAT Services

LawRight is an independent, non-profit community based legal organisation that coordinates pro bono legal services for individuals and community groups. Parties with proceedings in QCAT may be able to obtain assistance from LawRight’s Court and QCAT Services to self-represent or, in limited circumstances, be given representation.

If you are unsure whether you are eligible for assistance from LawRight, or wish to make an enquiry, contact the service by phone on 07 3564 7561 or by email at or by writing to PO Box 12217, George Street QLD 4003.

To apply for help from LawRight, please complete an application form. If you are unable to complete the online form, contact LawRight to discuss alternative arrangements.

Community legal centres

Caxton Legal Centre
The Caxton Legal Centre is an independent, non-profit community organisation providing free legal and social work advice, assistance and referrals to the general public. Please note that the Caxton Legal Centre does not provide advice about building or other business and commercial disputes.

Women's Legal Service
Women's Legal Service is a community legal centre that provides free legal advice and information to women in Queensland.

Youth Advocacy Centre
The Youth Advocacy Centre offers free confidential legal and welfare assistance to young people under 17 years who live in or around Brisbane. Telephone support is also provided to young people outside of Brisbane and throughout Queensland.

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT)’s registry is here to administer your case and provide general information. Please see below what registry staff can and cannot do to assist with your case.

Registry staff can:

* answer questions about QCAT processes

* provide information about QCAT’s different types of forms that are available for your consideration

* provide you with information and support about how to lodge an application

* refer and/or process any request to access the QCAT register of proceedings (a publicly available list of QCAT cases) or the record of proceedings (the case files themselves)

* advise on fees and allowances, and how to apply for a waiver of fees

* guide you in checking your forms are complete before lodgement (e.g. signed in the correct places)

* give you information on legal organisations that could help.

Registry staff cannot:

* provide legal advice

* advise on whether you should submit an application and whether you are filing under the correct legal area (eg minor civil dispute – consumer or trader or minor civil dispute – minor debt)

* tell you if you should lodge an appeal or a counter-application

* recommend a specific lawyer to assist you

* instruct you on how to word your application, supporting documents or what to say at a proceeding

* contact a QCAT member or adjudicator directly on your behalf

* predict likely outcomes of a case or appeal

* help you prepare your case

* advise what orders or decisions you should seek

* explain what you should do to follow QCAT directions

* recommend your next steps regarding enforcing an order or tribunal decision

* advise on exact timeframes for resolution of a case – this depends on your individual case