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5.3 Section 37 statement


Where a s.29 notice is issued, s.37 of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 requires the maker of the decision to which the notice relates, to provide to the AAT within 28 days of receipt of the notice, a statement of the terms of and reasons for the decision, and copies of the documents held which are relevant to the AAT's review of the decision. Section 68 of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 provides for the s.37 statement to be lodged with the Deputy Registrar at the AAT Registry in the relevant State. The manner in which this information and documentation (known as a s.37 statement) must be provided is detailed below.

A s.37 statement must:

  • identify the decision;
  • set out the findings on material questions of fact;
  • refer to the evidence or other material on which the findings were based;
  • give the reasons for the decision;
  • identify the decision-maker and the person supplying the reasons if that person is not the maker of the decision under review (eg. if the original decision-maker has left the Department); and
  • be accompanied by a copy of every other document that is in the decision-maker's control and is considered by him or her to be relevant to the review of the decision.

It is important that the reasons for a decision, provided to an affected person in relation to an adverse review decision, conform to the requirements of s.37 of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975. This will enable that statement of reasons to be provided as the s.37 statement, should the affected person appeal to the AAT.

The statement and documents must include a copy of the application for the review.

The complete set of documents (known as "T" documents) should be arranged as follows:-

  • the first document "T1" must be a copy of the application to the AAT for review;
  • the second document "T2" must be the s.37 statement;
  • all other documents (including those referred to in the s.37 statement) must be arranged in chronological sequence in descending order from the earliest to the latest date.  (These documents must include a copy of the decision under review if the original statement of reasons has not been included as "T2").

The statement and documents are to be accompanied by a cover sheet summarising the case, a chronological summary of the main events in the case and an index in which a brief description and the date of each document in its sequence is recorded.  Each document is to be identified with an exhibit number commencing with the application for review as "T1" and with succeeding documents bearing "T" numbers in sequence.  Each page is to be numbered and the pagination set out in the index.

Two copies of the s.37 statement and "T" documents should be provided to the AAT Registry in the State where the appeal was lodged and one copy sent to the Subsidy Section, Central Office. A further copy should be sent to Legal Services Branch, Canberra, for the Advocate who is to represent the Department in the case. A further four copies should be prepared and held in reserve.  These will be requested by the AAT via the Advocate only if the case cannot be resolved between the parties during preparation and has to go to a full tribunal hearing.

Examples of the cover sheet and summary and index pages of a s.37 statement may be seen attached to Central Office Instruction No 2 dated 19 December 1988.

Very occasionally new documents relating to the case will come to notice after the "T" documents and s.37 statement have been submitted to the AAT.  These new documents should be drawn to the attention of the Advocate from Compensation and Review Branch handling the case who will lodge them with the Applicant and the Tribunal if need be as supplementary "T" documents.

(In practice, Legal Services Branch prefer to prepare the s.37 statement and “T” documents – a copy of the relevant papers relating to the matter should be referred to the relevant Advocate.)