Administrative law: Child support appeals

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The Court has jurisdiction to hear an appeal from a decision of:

Child support first review

In a proceeding before the AAT, you may appeal to the Court against a decision of the AAT on a question of law*. The AAT may also refer a question of law arising from the proceedings to the Court. The Court does not have jurisdiction to review the merits of the decision.

Departure prohibition order

A delegate of the Child Support Registrar may make an order, known as a departure prohibition order, stopping a person from leaving Australia. If you are aggrieved by the making of a departure prohibition order, you may appeal to the Court against the decision to make the departure prohibition order.

The appeal is limited to reviewing whether the decision was properly made. The Court may set aside the order or dismiss the appeal.

The Court does not have jurisdiction to review:

  • the merits of the decision to make the departure prohibition order; or

  • a decision to issue or not issue a departure authorisation certificate.

I want to appeal from a child support decision

You will need to file:

  • Notice of appeal - Child support

  • a copy of:

    • the AAT's decision, or
    • Child Support Registrar’s departure prohibition decision
  • any statement of reasons given with the decision

  • a completed financial statement in accordance with the approved form, and

  • any further Affidavits on which you seek to rely.

The grounds of the appeal must explain briefly the basis on which the orders are sought.

Unless the Court orders otherwise, you must file an appeal from a decision of the AAT within 28 days of receiving a written statement of reasons for the decision. You can only appeal a decision of the AAT on a question of law; for more information, seek legal advice.

What do I have to pay?

You will need to pay a filing fee to the Court when you file the application.

In some circumstances, you may be exempted from paying court fees, for example, if you are a concession holder. You will need to apply to the Court for the exemption, using the Application form for Exemption from Paying Court Fees – General. You can also apply for an exemption if paying court fees would cause you financial hardship. Use the Application form for Exemption from Paying Court Fees – Financial Hardship.

Filing with the Court

Wherever possible, you must file court documents online using eLodgment. You can follow these instructions on how to use eLodgment or see the Federal Court website.

If it is not possible to file using eLodgment, you may be able to file your documents in person, by mail, or in certain circumstances by fax or email. Contact the Court if you are not sure how to file the documents.

How do I notify the respondent?

After your application has been filed, you must ‘serve’ the application on the respondent. That means you must make sure that the respondent receives the filed documents.

You must serve the Notice of appeal at least 28 days, and any other documents on which you intend to rely at least 21 days before the hearing date. The persons to be served include the respondent, a parent or eligible carer, and the Child Support Registrar. If you are appealing from a decision of the AAT you must serve the Notice of Appeal (and other documents) on the AAT within 7 days after the day of filing the appeal.

In addition to the filed documents, you must serve on the respondent the brochure Child Support Applications.


Within 28 days after you serve the application, the respondent(s) will need to file and serve:


An applicant can choose to discontinue the application at any time by filing a Notice of discontinuance with the Court.

* Question of law – an issue arising from a case about how the law was applied or not applied to the facts of a case or about whether the process was legally adequate.