Practice Manual for Tribunals

The COAT Practice Manual for Tribunals (the Manual) is a resource developed by COAT to assist tribunal members in carrying out their role. The Manual provides information and practical guidance on a range of practice issues that will be relevant to the diverse group of tribunals that are members of COAT, including procedural fairness, conducting hearings, making and giving reasons for decisions.

Published in July 2020, the fifth edition was revised by Dr Pamela O’Connor, Adjunct Professor with the Sir Zelman Cowan Centre at Victoria University, Melbourne.

The fifth edition incorporates new material, including, jurisdictional issues for state tribunals arising from constitutional limits on the exercise of Commonwealth judicial power, as determined in Burns v Corbett [2018] HCA 15; the implications for the interpretation of legislation, and for the exercise of administrative power by tribunals, of human rights legislation in New Zealand, Victoria, ACT and, from 1 January 2020, Queensland; development of standards and ethics, including COAT’s Tribunal Excellence Framework and Tribunal Competency Framework and the Law Council of Australia’s Ethical Standards for Mediators, and;  guidelines for dealing with persons from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, communicating via interpreters, dealing with persons with a cognitive disability, and assisting self-represented litigants.

An electronic version of the Manual is available on the COAT website. A hard copy of the Manual is provided to the head of each member tribunal of COAT. Additional copies can be purchased from COAT. See information below.

Please click here to download a PDF  format of the Fifth Edition of the Practice  Manual for Tribunals.  Please note that you need to download the pdf and save it, then open your Adobe reader program and open the file  from there to be able to view and use the index. 

Any enquiries relating to access to the Practice Manual for Tribunals or Best Practice Guides should be sent to