Posted on May 10, 2011 by Frances Tse

Review of GIPAA Decisions Made by Councils – Planning meetings in the Administrative Decisions Tribunal

Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPAA), a person who is aggrieved by a reviewable decision of a Council, such as a decision not to provide access to information, may apply to the Administrative Decisions Tribunal (ADT) for a review of the Council’s decision.

On receipt of an application, the Registrar of the ADT will advise the parties to the proceedings by letter of the time and date of the first scheduled meeting between the parties.

The first meeting in such proceedings is known as a Planning Meeting. The purpose of the Planning Meeting is for the Tribunal member and the parties to hold private discussions with a view to ascertaining the complexity of the matter, explore any possibilities for resolution of the dispute and decide on the most cost effective, simple and efficient method of resolving the matter.

The options available to the parties for resolution of the matter are:

  • negotiation with a view to settling or more narrowly defining the scope of the dispute,
  • preliminary conference,
  • mediation, or
  • referral to hearing.

The Planning Meeting is not intended to be a forum for extensive submissions on the issues in dispute and as such, the length of the meeting is limited to a short time.

The judicial member of the Tribunal who presides at the Planning Meeting will be the member presiding at the proceedings should the matter proceed to a formal hearing.

Parties should  be ready to brief the judicial member on the issues in dispute so that the parties and the Tribunal can determine the complexity of the issue, and decide at the meeting whether there may be any issues that are no longer in dispute.

At the conclusion of a Planning Meeting, the parties should be in a position to decide on the most appropriate way forward for resolving the matter and also determine an agreed timetable for any further actions that may be required.

On 6 May 2011, the ADT published guidelines on its website in relation to reviews under the GIPAA. A link to those guidelines can be found here.