How can I participate in COAT?

There are a number of opportunities to participate in the COAT for:

  • tribunals;
  • tribunal heads;
  • tribunal members and managers; and
  • other people interested in tribunal administration and justice, including practitioners, academics and students.

To participate in the COAT please contact Ms Kathryn McKenzie, COAT Secretariat on 0418 281 116 or at

Please note that there are some active state Chapters of COAT that have individual members only, as the various tribunal bodies are members of COAT. Whilst they are closely affiliated with COAT, some are separately incorporated associations and separate legal entities. Please visit the various state Chapter web pages under ‘Chapters’ menu tab for further information.

What Kind of Tribunal Can Be a Member of COAT?

There is no one model of what a tribunal is. Tribunals take many forms, usually depending on the powers they exercise and the types of decisions they make. Some tribunals are court-like in their structure and procedures, others are much more flexible in their physical set up as well as approach.

A tribunal may not be called a tribunal at all. Some are called a Panel, Board, Commission, Committee, or Authority for example.

At its heart, a tribunal determines disputes, but is not acting as a court (although some tribunals are part of a court eg. Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal, Federal Court of Australia). Because the power to determine matters is a common feature to most tribunals, it is expected that bodies whose primary functions are investigative and grievance handling, may not find the COAT’s activities relevant.

The Council of Australasian Tribunals is intended to have as broad a coverage as possible. Accordingly, an eligible tribunal is [under clause 3(1) of the COAT Constitution]:
any Commonwealth, State, Territory or New Zealand body whose primary function involves the determination of disputes, including administrative review, party/party disputes and disciplinary applications but which in carrying out this function is not acting as a court.