“You can’t say… these police reports are not to be accepted”

Federal Court. In the context of s 501CA(4), AAT said to self-represented Applicant at 1st hearing: "But what you can’t say, and what is not standing up to any sort of scrutiny, is that these police reports are not to be accepted, because Ms [L] be a little bit - or a lot - mentally unwell. If that were the case, the police wouldn’t have made the reports". At the end of 2nd hearing, Applicant was asked whether he wished to disagree with the police reports, but he answered in the negative. Did 1st hearing have the effect of directing Applicant that he could not present his case, thus constituting a denial of procedural fairness (PF)? Or did the opportunity to challenge the reports at the 2nd hearing cure any denial of PF that might have occurred at the 1st hearing?

The Federal Court (FCA) answered those questions as follows:

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