Striking out an ACAT application for lack of substance

Errington & Anor v ACT Planning and Land Authority (Administrative Review) [2019] ACAT 47 
The applicants were the owners of a residential property next door to the Kuwait Cultural Office. The applicants applied for a Controlled Activity Order for activities conducted by the Kuwait Cultural Office, alleging it failed to comply with the Crown lease because it wasn't used for 'residential purposes'.

This application was refused by the ACT Planning and Land Authority (ACTPLA) in October 2018, and the applicants sought an application for review of that decision in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT). ACTPLA then lodged an application for ACAT to strike out the application on the basis that it was lacking in substance under section 32(1)(b) of the ACAT Act.

ACAT determined that there is a very high threshold to terminate an action summarily, and ACAT will use this power with "extreme caution". ACAT considered the merits of the applicant's ACAT application, particularly whether the Crown lease allowed 'diplomatic residence' or 'Chancellery' for embassy use. On the facts, ACAT found that the matter was not without substance and should go to a hearing. In dismissing ACTPLA's strikeout application, this decision assists in determining the circumstances when dismissing an application for review under section 32(1)(b) of the ACAT Act.


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