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The Australian National University

The Experience of Using the Social Security Appeals Tribunal: Providing Individual Justice across Diversity

Beth Gaze, Ruth Gaze, Ruth Quibell and Belinda Fehlberg (2014) 42 (1)

The Social Security Appeals Tribunal ('SSAT') plays a significant role in the provision of administrative justice in Australia, deciding around 10 000 appeals each year. However there is little published information about its operation, especially as experienced by people who bring appeals. This article reports the results of a survey of SSAT users conducted in 2008. Participants were interviewed up to three times during the progress of their appeals. We found that while the majority of participants reported satisfaction with the SSAT and its processes, a small minority were very dissatisfied, not solely as a result of losing their appeals. We also found that the reasons for appealing were wide-ranging and included the desire for a respectful individual response or explanation that may not have been provided previously. Our analysis suggests that SSAT users value many features of the Tribunal, including multi-member panels, which require maintenance of current funding levels.

Vol 42, Issue 1, 2014

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