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Tribunal speeds up ASIC appeals

Financial advice businesses may benefit from a new proposal to diminish the time it takes to appeal against a decision handed down by a regulatory body.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) – a quasi-judicial body that reviews appeals of ASIC, APRA and ATO decisions – has announced it will make life easier for Australian business owners by expediting cases relating to “accreditation, licensing or registration” or those with “significant commercial ramifications”.

Reflecting on the decision, compliance consultant and lawyer Sophie Gerber said this “rocket docket” would be a “great thing” for stakeholders in the financial services sector.

“This [proposal] should make the licensing and regulatory system more open and accessible to those participating in the financial services market and allow Australia to become the financial services hub that the government intends it to be, rather than a regulatory behemoth that is impossible to penetrate,” Ms Gerber told ifa.

The compliance consultant said the proposal may help to “counter” ASIC’s intention to have more power of the licensing regime as stipulated in its submission to the Senate inquiry.

Ms Gerber said the proposal should help alleviate any commercial barriers to pursuing appeals through the AAT, bringing in a system that is “more favourable” to financial service providers.

Sean Robertson, a partner in law firm McCullough Robertson’s corporate advisory team, similarly said the docket rocket will make it easier for small businesses to appeal regulatory orders.


“My clients often want to appeal regulatory decisions, but the time spent [12 months] getting the decision to an AAT hearing generally makes an appeal pointless from a commercial perspective,” Mr Robertson said in a statement welcoming the move.

“We are hopeful that the introduction of the rocket docket will change that.”

The AAT is currently seeking feedback from stakeholders on the proposal.