Administrative Decisions

Do you need to appeal a government decision?

We offer solutions under Administrative Law which may provide a pathway for you to dispute an unfavourable decision made against you by a government authority.

What is Administrative Law?

Administrative law is the body of law that governs administrative activities and operations of government authorities to protect the interest of individuals and businesses in their interactions with government bodies.

It is a law that operates as an accountability mechanism for government decision-makers and is based on the fundamental legal principle that no single government department or agent should be able to make a decision without the decision being reviewable.

More information about can be found in our Guide to Administrative Decisions.

How Administrative Law applies to you

Both individuals and business owners often find themselves in situations where they are reliant on a particular government decision-maker or department to make a decision that is favourable to them. If these decisions are unfair or unlawful, the consequences for you and your business can be both costly and significant.

Some of the types of regularly disputed decisions that are regularly disputed include:

contract, agreement, project, management

Granting, refusing or revoking a licence

house, home, real, estate

Dealings with land

(Including development approvals and clearing of land)

salary, paycheck, income, employee

Taxation matters

Government decision-makers make thousands of decisions every day for a range of reasons. These are just a small selection of the wide variety of matters that are commonly disputed.

Should you find yourself in a situation where you believe a government decision-maker or authority has unfairly or unlawfully dealt with you, come talk to our expert team to discuss your matter and see how we can help.

Need a Lawyer?

If you have any questions regarding any of our services, or just need a question answered about appealing a government decision, then make an enquiry and our Litigation team will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

How to challenge a decision that has not been made in your favour

If you are not happy with a government decision that has not been made in your favour, there are a number of different avenues that could be available to you in order for you to dispute the decision.

Merits Review

A merits review is the process where a person or body other than the primary decision maker will reconsider the facts and merits of your case, as well as any applicable laws or policies, in order to determine whether the primary decision maker made the appropriate decision in the circumstances.

Merits reviews involve the matter being reassessed as a whole, which means that all aspects of you case will be re-evaluated (including all relevant facts that apply to your particular matter) in order for the secondary decision-maker to review the matter afresh and assess whether the decision should appropriately be varied.

A merits review process (depending on the decision) may be made internally and/or externally:

politic, congress, government, president

Internal Review

A senior decision maker working within the same government body as the primary decision maker will reassess your matter

justice, scale, law, equal

External Review

An independent body (e.g. a tribunal) will review your matter afresh and conduct an objective assessment of your matter

A merits review will generally result in one of the following outcomes:

  • The original decision is confirmed;
  • The original decision is varied;
  • A new decision is given; or
  • The original decision is set aside and the primary decision maker will reconsider the matter (usually with directions).

Judicial Review

Judicial review is a mechanism that ensures government authorities exercise their powers and discretion appropriately by holding public officials accountable for the procedures they have followed in making a decision.

Judicial review is not necessarily concerned with the facts and merits of an individual matter, but rather focuses on the correct implementation of appropriate decision-making processes in order to ensure public authorities are not abusing the power vested in them by the government.

In order to make an application for judicial review, you must be able to prove that the decision maker has demonstrated one of the following actions in making the decision:

Grounds for Judicial Review


The decision-maker has acted outside of the powers or authority vested in them, or have otherwise failed to follow applicable laws and procedures in making the decision


The decision-maker has come to a conclusion that is so irrational or unreasonable that no reasonable person would have come to the same conclusion in the circumstances

Procedural Impropriety

The decision-maker has either failed to approach the decision with an open and unbiased mind free of any prejudice or prejudgment, or they have not provided you with a reasonable opportunity to be heard


Ombudsman services may be able to assist, but usually can only provide a ‘recommendation’ that does not need to be followed by the particular government department or agency.

Following an investigation, the Ombudsmen will often provide a number of different recommended remedies in order to resolve the issue under investigation, including:

  • Making recommendations directly to a department or agency under investigation;
  • Reporting directly to a higher level government department or official about a particular issue identified in the circumstances; or
  • Reporting directly to a higher level government department of official about a more serious, systematic problem that has been identified as part of the Ombudsman’s investigations.

Complaining to the ombudsman may also impact limitation periods for other legally binding methods of review.

You should contact a lawyer to see if this method is best for you and whether it may prevent you from more effective ways to review or overturn a decision.

We can help

Whether you are seeking advice regarding a complex administrative legal matter, or you wish to dispute an unfavourable decision that is affecting your rights, we are here to help.

We believe that all government authorities should be accountable for their actions, and no public official should be allowed to shun their legal obligations.

Gibbs Wright Litigation Lawyers can assist you with all aspects of administrative law to help you achieve a favourable outcome.

We can help you:

team, startup, teamwork

Compel a government decision maker to make a decision

signature, legal, patent, trademark

Request a written statement outlining the reasons (grounds) behind which a decision has been made against you

justice, scale, law, equal

Challenge a decision that has not been made in your favour

There are often strict time frames to review a decision, so if you have had an unfavourable decision made against you, contact us immediately to protect your rights. We are here to help you with your administrative decision dispute, and we won’t back down from a fight.

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