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The Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the Bankruptcy Act – How far does its jurisdiction extend?

By Bonnie McMahon a Solicitor of Matthews Folbigg, in our Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

In the recent Administrative Appeals Tribunal (“the Tribunal”) decision of Lavin and Inspector General in Bankruptcy [2016] AATA 798 (“Lavin”), the Inspector-General in Bankruptcy (“Inspector-General”) has successfully argued that the Tribunal does not have the jurisdiction to:

  • review a decision of a Trustee in Bankruptcy (“the Trustee”) in relation to an assessment of the bankrupt’s income and contributions, when the Inspector-General refused to conduct a review of the Trustee’s decision under section 139ZA(5) of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) (“the Act”): and
  • determine that a refusal made by the Inspector-General to conduct a review of the Trustee’s decision under section 139ZA(5), is as a matter of fact a different decision or decisions than that stated by the Inspector-General.

The Applicant in Lavin was a bankrupt seeking a review of the decision her Trustee had made, in relation to her income and contributions under section 139Y of the Act. The Applicant had previously sought an internal review of the Trustee’s decision by the Inspector-General. The Inspector-General had refused to undertake this review under section 139ZA(5), and as a result the Applicant had applied to the Tribunal seeking a review of the Inspector-General’s decision under section 139ZF(b).
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