The Federal Court of Australia exercises principal trial and intermediate appellate jurisdiction in relation to federal administrative law in Australia, a jurisdiction which is central to the Court’s existence and function. Therefore, it was fitting for the Court, together with the Law Council of Australia, to host a conference designed to provoke thought and discussion about contemporary issues in Australian federal administrative law, held in conjunction with the Court’s August 2014 judges’ conference.
The conference brought together some of the best judicial, professional and academic thinkers in administrative law. It was opened with a sparkling and informed comparative presentation by Justice Dennis Davis from the Western Cape High Court of South Africa.
Through comprehensive panel reports on each session, this publication gives the reader the flavour of the entire conference, including the lively debates. Nine individual papers are also reproduced, covering the most important current issues in federal administrative law and bringing a variety of perspectives to those issues.
Foreword by The Hon James Allsop AO
Foreword by Duncan McConnel
Notes on Contributors
Table of Cases
Table of Statutes
1. Administrative Law: The Challenges of the 21st Century
Justice Dennis Davis
2. Rationality and Reasonableness as Grounds for Review
The Hon William Gummow AC
3. Taking Stock after Li
Justin Gleeson SC
4. Judicial Review for Unreasonableness or Irrationality: The Role of Proportionality
Kristen Walker QC
5. The Contemporary Approach to Jurisdictional Error
Justice Alan Robertson
6. Reasons, Reasoning and Jurisdictional Error
Stephen McLeish SC
7. The Distinction between Jurisdictional and Non-jurisdictional Errors: Its Significance and Rationale
Margaret Allars SC
8. Accessibility, Merits Review and Self-represented Litigants
Melinda Richards SC
9. Constitutional Writ Review and the ADJR Act
Neil Williams SC
Reports on Panel Sessions
The Contemporary Approach to Jurisdictional Error
Administrative Review in Other Jurisdictions
Federal Administrative Law and Accessibility
Constitutional Writ Review and the ADJR Act: Ships in the Night?
Kathleen Foley and Kateena O'Gorman
Administrative Justice and its Availability is a collection of papers that were presented at a joint conference of the Federal Court of Australia and the Law Council of Australia held in Melbourne in August 2014.
The profundity of each of the papers demonstrates the important contribution to the practice of public law that this conference provides. A brief summary of each of the papers is outlined below.
This collection is highly recommended to those interested in the current state of public administrative law principles. Read full review...
Kate Blackford Slack, Hearsay, June 2016, 75
In his foreword, Federal Court
Chief Justice James Allsop AO
described administrative law as
follows: “… this important work reveal[s] the centrality of the subject
of administrative law and its concern with the proper exercise of power. This is not some dry exercise of delimitation or boundary setting for institutions. It requires the understanding of power, its character, its importance and its effects on institutions and on government but, most importantly, on people”.
Administrative Justice and its Availability is a welcome addition to this important
field of law. This publication is a collection
of papers presented at the 2014 Federal Court of Australia and Law Council of Australia conference bearing the name of
the publication, as well as reports on the panel sessions that include the questions and answers asked at each session. Read full review...
Stephen Newman, InPrint, Law Institute Journal Victoria, December 2015
The chapters in this edited collection were initially presented over two days as papers at the 2014 Federal Court Administrative Law Conference in August 2014. The primary organiser of that conference, Justice Debbie Mortimer, was faced with an abundance of riches when her role became that of editor because the conference not only featured several excellent full-length papers but also comments on those papers and contributions from expert panels. Furthermore, the points raised by those attending the conference were of a uniquely high standard – unsurprisingly, given that the bulk of attendees were serving judges of the Federal Court.
The heart of this collection, however, is the paper by the Hon William Gummow, and the comments which follow it by Justin Gleeson SC and Kristen Walker QC…
Administrative Justice and its Availability is a comparatively small volume which is nonetheless full of thoughtful and considered observations by leading administrative law practitioners. It is a book which should be obtained and read by students, practitioners and academics alike. Read full review...
Greg Weeks, Australian Journal of Administrative Law, November 2015
This book, which has been edited by the Hon Justice Mortimer, is a collection of papers presented at a conference of the same name in August 2014, which was jointly convened by the Federal Court and the Law Council of Australia.
The contributors are prominent judges, barristers and academics from Australia and overseas, including The Hon William Gummow, Justice Alan Robertson of the Federal Court, Justice Stephen McLeish of the Victorian Court of Appeal and the Commonwealth Solicitor-General, Justin Gleeson SC. All papers were of an extremely high quality and the resulting publication is essential for all persons practicing in this field.
The papers trace the High Court’s development of administrative law principles. Topics covered include the use of rationality and reasonableness as grounds for review (most recently in Minister for Immigration and Citizenship v Li (2013) 249 CLR 332), the distinction between jurisdictional and non-jurisdictional errors (following Kirk v Industrial Court (NSW) (2010) 238 CLR 531), and the expansion of the constitutional writs when compared with review available under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977. These topics are complemented by a discussion of the accessibility of merits review for self-represented litigants, and a paper by Justice Davis, a member of the South African judiciary, on the challenges for administrative law in the 21st century.
Focus is primarily on administrative review at the Federal level, although the principles expounded by the High Court will be equally applicable to State-based administrative law.
The book concludes by providing an overview of the topics addressed in each session of the conference and the questions asked by attendees.
This book provides a snapshot of the current state of administrative law and possible areas of change moving forward, and will be useful to those practising or interested in this area.
Queensland Law Reporter – 6 November 2015 –  43 QLR
This forthcoming publication, to be released on 29 May 2015 by that excellent legal publisher, The Federation Press, promises to be an outstanding contribution to the bank of legal knowledge concerning Administrative Law. The editor of this work, Justice Mortimer, is one of Australia’s leading Administrative lawyers whose depth of knowledge on the topic is enormous. The book is a collection of nine papers, together with the reports on panel sessions, as delivered at the recent Administrative Law conference jointly hosted by the Federal Court of Australia and the Law Council of Australia in August 2014. … the publication promises to be a worthy read.
Queensland Law Reporter – 24 April 2015 –  15 QLR