The Merits of 'Merits' Review: A Comparative Look at the Australian Administrative Appeals Tribunal

24 Pages Posted: 23 May 2016  

Michael Asimow

Stanford Law School

Jeffrey S. Lubbers

American University - Washington College of Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2010


This article compares several systems of administrative adjudication. In the U.S., adjudication is typically performed by the same agency that makes and enforces the rules. However, in Australia, almost all administrative adjudication is performed by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal [AAT], a non-specialized adjudicating agency, and several other specialized tribunals that are independent of the enforcing agency. These tribunals (which evolved out of concerns about separation of powers) have achieved great legitimacy. In the U.K., recent legislation [the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act] merged numerous specialized tribunals into a single first-tier tribunal with much stronger guarantees of independence than previously existed. An upper tribunal hears appeals from the first tier and largely supplants judicial review. The article concludes by asking whether the U.S. could lean, anything from the Australian and U.K experience and suggests that a single tribunal to adjudicate federal benefits cases might be a significant improvement over the existing model.

Keywords: administrative law, administrative adjuduction, administrative tribunals

Suggested Citation

Asimow, Michael and Lubbers, Jeffrey S., The Merits of 'Merits' Review: A Comparative Look at the Australian Administrative Appeals Tribunal (2010). 28 Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice 261 (2010).. Available at SSRN:

Michael R. Asimow

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Room 241
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
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650-723-2431 (Phone)
650-725-0253 (Fax)

Jeffrey S. Lubbers (Contact Author)

American University - Washington College of Law ( email )

4300 Nebraska Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20016
United States

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