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Since its creation the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has taken over responsibility for many different areas of trucking law and regulation. A great deal of its work is in issuing and managing accreditation schemes, permits and exemptions.
Most people involved in the trucking industry will at some stage need to apply to the Regulator for a permit, exemption or accreditation in order to conduct their business. Usually these applications are granted. However, sometimes the Regulator will decline an application. When this happens it can have significant consequences for the person’s business.
Thankfully the Regulator’s initial decision is not the final say. There is a process for review.
The first step for a person who has received an adverse decision is to ask the Regulator to conduct an internal review.
An internal review involves the Regulator reconsidering its original decision. It will usually be conducted by a different person from within the organisation, to ensure that it is considered with fresh eyes. The affected person is allowed to provide additional information, which will be considered together with the information that was considered in the original application.
At the end of the internal review the Regulator will either uphold its original decision, or change it.
If the person is not satisfied with the outcome of the internal review, the next step is to appeal against the decision. The appeal will be heard by a Court or Tribunal in their State or Territory.
The appeal is an opportunity for the person to have the decision reviewed by an impartial body. After hearing all of the evidence, the Court or Tribunal will decide whether it upholds the Regulator’s decision or thinks that another decision should have been made.
There are a few important things to know when preparing for an internal review or appeal:
The best way to increase your chances of success is to prepare properly for every stage of the process. Remember, that any information you include in your original application will be considered in your internal review, and any information from your internal review will be considered in an appeal.
The biggest mistake people make is to not seek advice where it is needed and then failing to submit the strongest original application or internal review, thinking it can be fixed at a later stage. It is always easier to do it properly from the outset than fix a mistake later down the track.
Double check whether yours is a case that can be reviewed.
Not all decisions by the Regulator can be reviewed. Usually the letter from the Regulator notifying you of the decision will also indicate if it can be. However, it is a good idea to seek legal advice as sometimes the information provided isn’t clear or is incorrect.
Know your time limits.
There are time limits within which to lodge your application for review or appeal. Although these can be extended in some circumstances, it is not wise to rely on this. If you miss the time limit you may be stuck with the original decision.
Be aware that lodging an application for internal review or appeal doesn’t usually ‘pause’ the original decision.
If you would like to stop the original decision from being enforced while the review or appeal is conducted you need to make a separate application.
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