Peter Johnston



The establishment of the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) represents a new phase of dispute resolution in Western Australia. While constituted as a tribunal and not a court, it is important for those who will have dealings with it to appreciate certain aspects of its basic nature. This article seeks to analyse the essential characteristics of the SAT, both in terms of its legislative charter under the State Administrative Tribunal Act 2004 (WA) (SAT Act) and as contemplated in various policy statements and commentaries regarding it. It asks whether the SAT, as the most recent entrant into the field of general Australian tribunals, is a state-of-the-art model for adoption in those jurisdictions in Australia and elsewhere that as yet lack a comprehensive system of administrative review. Alternatively, are there certain inherent contradictions in its constitution, mandate and structure that suggest further amendments or refinements may be necessary to ensure a more effective delivery of dispute resolution?