Must there be further hearing if AAT is reconstituted?

Federal Court (Full Court): Appellant's licence was terminated, after which he applied to the (1st) AAT, which affirmed original decision after a hearing. FCCA remitted the matter to the (2nd) AAT, which also carried out a hearing. 2nd AAT was reconstituted by another Member (3rd AAT) and then affirmed Board's decision. Was 3rd AAT required to afford the Appellant a further hearing? Could any findings by 1st AAT bind the 3rd? Was 3rd AAT allowed to consider 1st AAT's hearing transcript? Could AAT authoritatively determine the limits of its own authority?

Although this decision did not involve a migration matter, it could apply to migration matters, not least because migration-related court decisions underpinned part of this decision.

The Appellant's tax agent licence was terminated by the Tax Practitioners Board, after which the Appellant applied to the Tribunal (AAT) for merits review of the Board's decision.

The Tribunal (first Tribunal) affirmed the Board's decision and the Appellant then applied to the Federal Circuit Court (FCCA) for judicial review of the first Tribunal's decision.

The FCCA upheld the judicial review application and remitted the matter to the Tribunal for reconsideration.

A differently constituted Tribunal (second Tribunal) carried out a hearing on remittal, but the presiding Member's tenure with the Tribunal ceased, with the result that another Member took over the matter and reconstituted the second Tribunal (the third Tribunal).

The third Tribunal did not carry out a hearing, making a decision on the papers to affirm the Board's decision.

The Appellant then applied under s 44 of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 (Cth) to the Federal Court (FCA) for judicial review of the third Tribunal, but the FCA dismissed that application.

The Appellant eventually appealed the FCA's decision to the Full Court of the FCA (FCAFC).

Some of the questions to the FCAFC were as follows:

Question 1: Was the third Tribunal required to afford the Appellant a further hearing as a matter of procedural fairness?

Question 2: Could any findings made by the first Tribunal bind the third Tribunal?

Question 3: Was the third Tribunal allowed to consider the first Tribunal's hearing transcript, given that the FCCA had ordered that second Tribunal be reconstituted?

Question 4: Could the Tribunal authoritatively determine the limits of its own authority?

The FCAFC answered those questions as follows:

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