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The creation and proliferation of administrative tribunals – bodies that adjudicate a wide range of disputes between community members and the state – is a significant feature of the past fifty years in Australia and beyond. This course aims to examine; how tribunals operate in the twilight world between the executive branch of the state and the judiciary in Australia, to analyse the principles that govern the functioning of tribunals and explore the challenges facing lawyers, decision-makers and the users of tribunals. Comparisons will be drawn with other systems of merits review in the common law world. The course will be delivered by academics and practitioners with considerable experience of Tribunal adjudication.

Associate Professor Peter Billings

Senior Lecturer in Law, Fellow – The Centre for Public, International and Comparative Law, Director – UQ Pro Bono Centre, T.C. Beirne School of Law.


Past Guest Lecturers

Alison Christou

Alison Christou is a solicitor, PhD candidate, TC Beirne School of Law - Independent Reviewer for the Federal Government's Independent Protection Assessment Office (Irregular Maritime Arrivals); formerly Member of the Mental Health Review Tribunal (Qld) and a part-time Member of the Social Security Appeals Tribunal.


Philip E. Hack S.C.

Deputy President, Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Brisbane

Philip Hack took office as a Deputy President on 9 January 2006 after a career as a barrister in private practice extending over some 23 years. He was appointed Senior Counsel in and for the State of Queensland on 1 December 2000. Deputy President Hack had a broad practice at the Bar, successfully undertaking both criminal and criminal appellate work, as well as general civil, commercial, insolvency, revenue and public law cases at both trial and appellate level.

Topics covered include:

  • concept of administrative justice
  • Australian model of statutory tribunals and their role in the governmental system
  • administrative law principles governing tribunals 
  • structural elements of tribunal adjudication: membership, independence and expertise
  • operation of tribunals (including; access to justice, pre-hearing issues, evidential rules, onus of proof, cost and timeliness)
  • The Conduct of Hearings - tribunals and their users
  • jurisdiction-specific matters: including the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Refugee Review Tribunal and Mental Health Review Tribunal (Qld)

Course information

Course code

27, 28, 29, 30 September 2017


This course may also be taken as a CPD course or a non-award course.