This week the Attorney-General's Department Administrative Review Council released its report on "Federal Judicial Review in Australia".
For Australian Government agencies, judicial review is a central feature of the administrative law system as a means of ensuring the accountability of officials for the legality of their actions and provides an important avenue of appeal for those affected by government decision making.
It was the Council’s view that the advantages of the remedial and standing provisions of the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 (ADJR Act) should, in most cases, also be available in relation to decisions currently only reviewable in the Federal Court under s 39B of the Judiciary Act. It was also the view of the Council that the federal judicial review system would be more accessible to individuals, and the legal requirements for decision makers clearer, if constitutional review and statutory review were more closely aligned.
The Council made a number of recommendations to the Attorney-General. Importantly, the Council recommended altering the scope of the ADJR Act, without, however, altering the current ambit of judicial review. In particular, the recommendation was to more closely align the two current generalist judicial review jurisdictions, encouraging consistency between constitutional and statutory judicial review.