The COAT is intended to facilitate liaison and discussion between the heads of tribunals. It will support the development of best practice models and model procedural rules, standards of behaviour and conduct for members and increased capacity for training and support for members.
At the inaugural meeting on 6 June 2002 Commonwealth, State, Territory and New Zealand tribunal heads supported a proposal for establishing a Council of Australasian Tribunals along the following lines:
The COAT will operate as a national body with membership open to all Commonwealth, State, Territory and New Zealand tribunals.
The purpose of the COAT is to identify common interests of participating tribunals and their members. The COAT will operate informally and decisions will be made by consensus.
The COAT will determine its priorities based on the interests of members. Practical outcomes the COAT might work toward could include:
– the development of best practice or model procedural rules based on collective experience of what works;
– standards of behaviour and conduct for members;
– increased capacity for training and support for members, particularly by smaller tribunals which might not have the resources to undertake such activities alone; and
– the development of performance standards. This would assist tribunals demonstrating performance as against comparable bodies, which might be more meaningful than measures such as cost/time/decision rates etc.
The COAT will operate through a federal structure, comprising:
– a National Council;
– State and Territory Chapters; and
– New Zealand Chapter(s).
The presiding members, or their nominated delegate, of participating tribunals will be eligible to participate in the COAT National Council.
State, Territory and New Zealand Chapters will provide tribunal members with an opportunity to share information, experiences and views about developments and trends in administrative decision making at a more local level, and will help to improve the standard of tribunal performance overall.
Any member of a Tribunal that is a member of the COAT is entitled to be a member of a State, Territory or New Zealand Chapter of the Council. In addition, membership of State, Territory and New Zealand Chapters shall also be open to practitioners, academics and other interested persons.
The COAT will be chaired by the presiding member, or their nominated delegate, of a tribunal. The COAT will include a Deputy Chair and an Executive Committee comprising the heads of the State, Territory and New Zealand Chapters.