If you disagree with our decision, you have the right to have the decision reviewed. Before deciding to go to court it can be a good idea to get legal advice about the strength of your application, the process, and the related costs.
If you do not have a lawyer, you can contact your local state or territory law association to find out what pro bono or other legal assistance is available in your area.
Appealing to a court
You can go to court for an appeal or a review if you:
- disagree with a decision made by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) after it reviewed the original ACNC objection decision
- disagree with an ACNC objection decision and have decided not to apply to the AAT, or
- disagree with another ACNC decision.
How to appeal to a court
If you disagree with an ACNC objection decision you can appeal directly to a court, instead of going to the AAT first.
You must lodge an appeal within 60 days of us giving you the objection decision. If there are related decisions, even if the ACNC did not make them, you can ask the court to deal with the decisions together.
You can appeal to a court by filling in the relevant court’s application form. There are usually filing and other fees to pay.
The court can limit their review of your case to the reasons you put into your original objection application to the ACNC. If you apply to a court, you will have to prove to the court that the ACNC should have made a different decision.
You can ask the court to review more than one decision together, such as an ACNC objection decision and an ATO decision about charity tax concessions. These decisions must be related or it must be more efficient for the court to review them together.
The court appeal does not suspend the ACNC’s original decision. The original ACNC decision has effect while your appeal is being dealt with. The objection decision continues until the court makes a different decision.
Court appeal outcomes
If you are appealing against an ACNC objection decision, the court can make any order, including:
- varying the ACNC’s decision, or
- agreeing with the original decision.
If the court does not agree with the ACNC’s decision, we have 60 days to put the court’s decision into effect, unless we decide to appeal it. You can also appeal the court’s decision to a higher court if you disagree.
A judicial review is when a court examines the way the original decision maker applied the law and the process they followed when they made their decision. You can ask a court to review other ACNC decisions through a judicial review process.
The most common way to apply for judicial review of Commonwealth administrative decisions is under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 (Cth).You cannot ask for judicial review just because you are unhappy with the decision or disagree with the reasons. You can only ask the court to review the decision because of the way we made our decision.
If the court decides that we made a mistake in the process we followed to decide your case, it will generally set aside the decision or direct us to make a new decision and follow the correct process. The court will not make a new decision.
Applying for a judicial review
You can apply for judicial review if:
- the decision is not an internally reviewable decision under the ACNC Act, and
- you think that the ACNC made a mistake in the way it applied the law in the decision, and/or
- you think that the ACNC did not follow the proper legal process in making the decision.
There are time limits on applying for judicial review. Under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 (Cth), you must apply for judicial review within 28 days of us giving you our decision.