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Appealing to court in regards to SSAT - A matter of Law

To appeal an SSAT decision at court it has to be on a matter of law. Here's something that may help to determine what a matter of law is.

Crabbe & Crabbe (SSAT Appeal) [2011] FMCAfam 24 (14 January 2011) said
In commenting upon that, he cited with approval the decision of Brown FM in Tasman & Tisdall (2008) FMCAfam 126 at paragraph 44, when Brown FM made the following comments in relation to a jurisdictional error:

    An Administrative Tribunal exceeds its powers and thus commits jurisdictional error, which is correctable on appeal in respect to the question of law, if it:

        (i) fails to construe correctly the legislative provisions applicable;
        (ii) identifies the wrong issues or asks itself the wrong questions;
        (iii) ignores relevant material or relies on irrelevant material;
        (iv) fails to accord procedural fairness to the party before it;
        (v) makes an erroneous finding of such a magnitude that it goes to the very jurisdiction which it purports to exercise rendering its decision perverse or unreasonable or otherwise offending logic.

    Brown FM concluded at paragraph 22 of Tasman & Tisdall that:
        It seems clear though that findings of fact, including inferences, may be reviewed to determine whether there has been an error of law.


Crabbe & Crabbe (SSAT Appeal) [2011] FMCAfam 24 (14 January 2011)
Tasman & Tisdall (SSAT Appeal) [2008] FMCAfam 126 (8 May 2008)
Mike, if the FM finds just 1 of those points mentioned in the Tasman & Tisdall case, would the matter be sent back to the SSAT for round 2 or would the courts only consider all 5 points.
Any single matter found would be an error at law (a court would consider/think about what is put before them). An FM is more than likely to make it clear that SSAT should do it's job and not make errors. I think it's rare, or even something that doesn't happen, that an FM would actually make and apply a correction.
Mike T...just clutching at straws here but, would refusing to allow a witness to give evidence even when SSAT agreed in writing to allow the witness to give evidence...would that be seen as (iv) fails to accord procedural fairness to the party before it.
Julco, if the evidence were pertinent then it should constitute procedural unfairness. However, there are ways that a magistrate can, basically with impunity, dismiss the matter. I believe the biggest hurdle with taking a CS matter to court, is getting over the societal deadbeat aspect that payers are perceived to be. An example that I refer to at times is a matter where the liable parent was clearly found to be 50% involved in the running of companies, the other 50% being the liable partner's concern. However, the the partner's income for the same amount of involvement was a tenth (if I recall correctly) of the liable parent's. The magistrate, after the "interested in the case" magistrate was removed from the case due to sickness, dismissed the case. A very clear example of the injustice that can be afforded, especially considering the other facts of the recipient hiding income.

Failing to consider relevant/pertinent evidence could (should) also come under ii, iii and v.
So basically, once you are shafted, you are shafted! Unless of course you have $20,000 to spend on legal defence….which, depending on the magistrate's view of the payer, could get you nowhere.  Amazing that people who have had no contact with CSA are totally bewildered when you explain to them the procedure, the treatment and the outcome of a COA and SSAT experience.  The evidence in our case I'm referring to was to do with expenditure from the joint account.  
That's what I said Julco, unfortunately you only get 1 go at the SSAT and they are aloud to sit down after the hearing and listen to the recording over and over again, refer to the CSA law and case law before they make there decision. Then they find a way to shaft you. Not many people have come out the other side with a favourable outcome and then you ask yourself - (iv) fails to accord procedural fairness to the party before it;
What I found out was $20k would only be a starting point for a solicitor and here where I live the solicitors don't know the CSA law. I found a another solicitor 6 months ago and asked him about the compensation for detriment ( CDDA ) and he didn't have a clue, so I walked out of his office, he then sent me an invoice for $250 I told him to file it where the sun don't shine.
The whole CSA/SSAT and FM Courts need a shake up.

What amazes me that sometimes they combine your joint income and then other times they want to separate it? Surely this can't be right.

I think the form used by the SSAT needs updating.

It is evident on the Financial Statement form that they want to know the partners income and household expenditure and then they want to apply to one person.

Also we have a Self managed Super fund and the form doesn't really cater for this either. Initially it didn't matter on the originating COA form we completed some 3 years earlier as it was part of the property settlement but by the time it got to the SSAT in 2012 they were asking why the infomation wasn't included totally.

I was looking at the Anti Discrimination Act re and I believe the CSA and SSAT discriminate second families based on marital status. Does anyone know how the CSA factors in a new spouse if they aren't working? Do they adjust the self support amount?
I would like to know if the respondent to my recent SSAT hearing failed to attend, failed to submit materials/documents and a financial statement would be classified as 'question of law'  so i can appeal it to the Federal Magistrates Court
That's a good question. I don't know.
As far as I know a question of law ( error of law ) can only be made by the SSAT with them getting the answers wrong from the FACTS.
When asked by the SSAT to supply documents for a hearing you are supposed to supply them. I know in my case there were documents not supplied by the other party and there was crucial documents that the CSA had deliberately left out of the transcript and the SSAT seam to turn a blind eye to the matter because its the other parent who doesn't have the children.
lodqasia said
I would like to know if the respondent to my recent SSAT hearing failed to attend, failed to submit materials/documents and a financial statement would be classified as 'question of law'  so i can appeal it to the Federal Magistrates Court

I believe the "error of law" issue is more complex. That is, a person not attending a hearing isn't a matter of error of law itself, neither is a failure to submit materials. However, if decision's were made that would (or should) not have been made if that person were present or their materials submitted then I think it then enters into the potential "error of law" arena. Of course there is also the other side(s) of the "error of law" coin where the error of law is not procedural fairness, which could be made respective of the presence of a person or their materials. Their is also the side of who the decision maker is, basically they very easily can argue that black is white or that there was no error of law when there certainly was, perhaps just to allow boxes to be ticked (saying that I believe that your odds are far far better with a judge/magistrate (think they are all classed as judges now) than with SSAT).
Thank you MikeT for your comments.  I have spoken to a Layer and he agrees I need to get this matter into the Court and get away from the ping pong of CSA and SSAT.  This is what I was thinking at the time of my posting and your opinion is very much appreciated. :-)
I sincerely wish you luck.

However, I could imagine that there is the potential for a veritable nightmare. Unfortunately I believe that some court decision makers may try to shirk away from dealing with CSA matters (few are well oiled in that area) and may summarily dismiss. I'm certainly aware of 1 matter that took this path. It was on as the magistrate was "very interested in this one", my understanding was that it was a no-brainer (eg just 1 of the many points was that the "parent and partner equally contributed to the businesses that they ran according to CSA/SSAT" but managed to equally share the income between them with the parent's income 5 times the near slave income attributed to the partner). However, that magistrate was taken ill, the replacement "summarily dismissed".

It would surprise me little if SSAT were aware of such, that they would then take a dismissal as reason for no case.
I have had many(10) departure applications, enforcement application and adult maintenance  before the Federal Magistrates court over the years and every time it has always gone in my favour.  Apart from once i have represented myself all the way but this time i think i need a Child Support Lawyer as I have too much at state.  I think this will be my last time before my last child turn 18.  I am hoping anyway . Will keep you posted of the out come
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