Court Review of the Decisions of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority and its Predecessors
Journal of Civil Litigation and Practice, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 6-30, 2019
30 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2019
Date Written: January 11, 2019
The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) commenced operation on 1 November 2018. Its purpose is to address complaints by consumers and small businesses in relation to products and services provided by financial firms. It is expected to deal with more than 50,000 complaints in its first year. Given the important role of AFCA, the authors analyse the cases in which decisions made by predecessor bodies of AFCA have been challenged in the courts and, based on this analysis, propose a set of principles that should be applied by the courts in determining whether an AFCA decision is reviewable. The authors note that significant policy issues are at stake in relation to the grounds for court review of an AFCA decision. Court review of AFCA decisions can be important for accountability. Yet AFCA was established to be an alternative to courts and therefore the objectives of low-cost, prompt and informal dispute resolution by AFCA should not be adversely affected by excessive court review of its decisions.
Keywords: dispute resolution; consumer complaints; court review
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