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Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) Written Submission

Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) Written Submission
Order Description
Administrative Law Assignment
(2500-word Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) Written Submission)
Before getting started, please be noted that ALL of your work has to be based on AUSTRALIAN sources and authorities. If you have not complied with any of my
instructions provided below, I will have to ask you to edit the essay. (For your information, this has happened quite often and I had to ask the writer to edit more
than four times in one instance). Thank you for taking my work and I look forward to your awesome work.
Instructions: You will be required to provide a 2500-word written submissions based on a fictional AAT fact scenario. The scenario will include (as much as possible)
tribunal documents as attachments. A more detailed description along with the assignment and other resources will be attached for your information. The aim of this
assessment is to allow students an opportunity to adopt a problem-solving, process-focused approach along with practising the application of legal knowledge in the
manner required by the legal profession.
You MUST footnote in accordance with the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (3rd edition)
(‘AGLC’). The AGLC is available through the UTS Library in both electronic and hardcopy forms. It is also available here:
http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au/files/dmfile/FinalOnlinePDF-2012Reprint.pdf . Do not use previous editions of the AGLC as they are substantially different.
FACT SCENARIO
Mrs. Betty Smith is now 70 years old. She retired in 2012 at the age of 67. She applied for age pension on 15 August 2012. Mrs. Smith lives around the corner from her
local Centrelink branch and walked into this local branch to fill in the appropriate application form for age pension.
The application form asked her to state her financial assets and financial investments. Mrs. Smith stated that she had $10,000 in financial investments as this was the
amount of money she had in her everyday banking account. She omitted to tell Centrelink she had a $50,000 term deposit which would mature on 1 December 2014. As Mrs.
Smith could not access the money in the term deposit, she did not consider this to be money she needed to tell Centrelink about.
The Centrelink customer services officer (CSO), Wilma, took the application form from Mrs. Smith and input the information into Centrelink’s computer system. However,
Wilma mistakenly input $1,000 instead of $10,000 for Mrs. Smith’s financial investments.
On 17 August 2012, Centrelink sent Mrs. Smith a letter asking her to check her details. The letter requested Mrs. Smith to check that the amounts entered on Centrelink
records were correct. The letter stated that Mrs. Smith had $1,000 in her bank account. Mrs. Smith thought this was a typing error and ignored the notice as she had
filled in the application form only a couple of days earlier with $10,000.
On 30 October 2012, Centrelink sent another letter asking Mrs. Smith whether she had more than $1,000 in financial investments. Mrs. Smith, who was still recovering
from her cataract operation, which she had on 15 October 2012, wanted to get her neighbour, Mr. Bye, to read the letter for her but Mr. Bye was away on holidays in the
U.K. Instead, she turned the Centrelink letter into a liner for the bottom of her birdcage.
On 30 June 2013, Centrelink sent Mrs. Smith a further letter requesting her to update her financial investments if they had changed. Mrs. Smith did not read the letter
and used it again to line her birdcage. During this time she was deeply upset by the death of her pet cockatoo, Bertie, who had been her pet
for 30 years.
On 1 October 2014, Centrelink sent a further letter to Mrs. Smith requesting her to update her financial investments. Mrs. Smith did not read the letter.
On 30 October 2014, Mrs. Smith received a letter from Centrelink stating she had been overpaid $21,000.50 in the age pension between 15 August 2012 and 1 October 2014
which was a debt owed to the Commonwealth.
Centrelink has recovered half the debt in a lump sum and the remainder is being deducted from her age pension payments in instalments.
BRIEF FOR THE APPLICANT
You are the legal representative for Mrs. Betty Smith, the Applicant in this application.
Mrs. Smith has made an application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) seeking a review of the decision of the Social Security Appeals Tribunal (SSAT). The
SSAT has affirmed a decision by a Centrelink Authorised Review Officer (ARO) that Mrs. Smith has been overpaid the age pension and has therefore incurred a debt to the
Commonwealth.
Centrelink is the service provider for the Respondent in this application: the Secretary of the Department of Human Services.
From the information provided, you must prepare and present arguments to the AAT as to why Mrs. Smith does not owe the Commonwealth a debt and an alternative argument
that if she does owe a debt, why the debt should be waived.
Your argument must be in the form of submissions and should cite relevant case law and sections of the relevant Act(s) to support your arguments.
NOTE: The calculation of Mrs. Smith’s debt and overpayment is NOT an issue. Please assume that she qualifies for the age pension; that her rate of pension is correct
on the basis of the information she gave to Centrelink, and the debt amount has been calculated correctly.
BRIEF FOR THE RESPONDENT
You are the legal representative for the Secretary of the Department of Human Services, the Respondent in this application.
Mrs. Betty Smith, the Applicant in this application, has made an application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) seeking a review of the decision of the
Social Security Appeals Tribunal (SSAT). The SSAT has affirmed a decision by a Centrelink Authorised Review Officer (ARO) that Mrs. Smith has been overpaid the age
pension and has therefore incurred a debt to the Commonwealth. Centrelink is the service provider for the Respondent.
From the information provided, you must prepare and present arguments to the AAT as to why Mrs. Smith owes the Commonwealth a debt and why that debt should not be
waived.
Your argument must be in the form of submissions and should cite relevant case law and sections of the relevant Act(s) to support your arguments.
NOTE: The calculation of Mrs. Smith’s debt and overpayment is NOT an issue. Please assume that she qualifies for the age pension; that her rate of pension is correct
on the basis of the information she gave to Centrelink, and the debt amount has been calculated correctly.
SECTION 37 DOCUMENTS (T DOCUMENTS)
AAT No: 2015/0001
Applicant: Betty Smith
Respondent: Secretary of the Department of Community Services
1. Mrs. Smith has been in receipt of age pension since 15 August 2012.
2. On 14 November 2014 a Centrelink officer made a decision to raise and recover a debt of age pension of $21,000.50 in respect of the period
15 August 2012 to 1 October 2014.
3. Mrs. Smith requested a review of this decision. The decision was reviewed and affirmed by an Authorised Review Officer (ARO) on 5 January 2015.
4. On 6 January 2015 Mrs. Smith appealed to the Social Security Appeals Tribunal (“the Tribunal”). Half of the debt had been repaid by the date of the hearing.
ISSUES
5. The issues for determination by the Tribunal are:
– Did Mrs. Smith receive age pension in excess of her entitlement for the period 15 August 2012 to 1 October 2014?
– If so, is the excess payment a debt?
– If it is, is the debt recoverable?
INFORMATION PROVIDED AT THE HEARING
6. Mrs. Smith provided the following information to the Tribunal on the day of the hearing:
– She thought Centrelink would update their information about how much money she had in her bank account automatically.
– When Centrelink asked her to inform them of her financial investments she didn’t include the term deposit because she did not have immediate access to those funds.

She had a cataract operation in October 2012. She wanted her neighbour, Mr. Bye, to help her read the letters but he was on a holiday in the Cotswolds U.K, so she
didn’t read the letters while he was away. After the operation she could read the letters but found that it strained her eyes and made her eyes weepy. She said she
could read properly for about three days after the operation but she didn’t read the letters because she had misplaced her glasses.
– She suffered depression when her pet cockatoo, Bertie, died, her best friend for 30 years. She did not receive medication for this depression, but she withdrew from
socialising and spent more time at home.
– She read the letter of 17 August 2012 but thought it was a mere typographical error and that since she had given the information only a couple of days before she
didn’t need to do it again.
– She did not read the other letters from Centrelink because she thought she was receiving the correct pension rate so didn’t think anything was wrong, she thought her
details were correct.
– Repayment of the debt has caused her stress. She now has less than $1,000 in her everyday bank account, and is finding it difficult to pay bills and the rent.
– Her husband died five years ago, she has been lonely ever since; he used to handle their financial matters.
DOCUMENTS
7. The Tribunal had access to Mrs. Smith’s Centrelink paper and electronic files. The Tribunal had particular regard to the following documents:
– Details of Mrs. Smith’s savings balances during the period under review;
– Mrs. Smith’s Centrelink file including payment summaries, debt calculations, debt recovery actions, contact records, ARO letter and decision; and
– Centrelink letters to Mrs. Smith dated 17 August 2012, 30 October
2012, 30 June 2013, 1 October 2014, and 30 October 2014.
DISCUSSION OF THE EVIDENCE & FINDINGS OF FACT
8. Mrs. Smith applied for age pension on 15 August 2012 in person at her local Centrelink branch.
9. On 17 August 2012 Centrelink sent Mrs. Smith a letter asking her to check her details and financial investments and to inform Centrelink if the information was
incorrect. There is no record of Mrs. Smith contacting Centrelink.
10. On 30 October 2012 Centrelink sent a letter imposing certain obligations on Mrs. Smith to advise of matters which might affect her pension rate. She was asked to
advise Centrelink if her financial investments were over
$1,000. There is no record of Mrs. Smith contacting Centrelink.
11. On 30 June 2013 Centrelink sent another letter, the same as in paragraph
10 above. Mrs. Smith was asked to advise Centrelink if her financial investments were over $1,000. There is no record of Mrs. Smith contacting Centrelink.
12. On 1 October 2014 Centrelink sent another letter asking Mrs. Smith to advise Centrelink if her financial investments were over $1,000. There is no record of
Mrs.Smith contacting Centrelink.
13. On 30 October 2014 Centrelink sent Mrs. Smith a letter stating that she
has been overpaid $21,000.50 in age pension which she owes as a debt to the Commonwealth. Centrelink records show Mrs. Smith called Centrelink on 3 November 2014 to
ask why she owed a debt to the Commonwealth.
APPLICATION OF THE LAW
14. According to the Social Security Act 1991(“the Act”), the amount overpaid is a debt to the Commonwealth.
15. Mrs. Smith has repaid part of the debt in this case and accordingly there are no grounds to write off the debt.
16. Under the Act, there is no reason to waive the right to recover the debt and there are no special circumstances that warrant the waiver of the debt.
Dear Mrs. Smith
Term Deposit Account Number: 342434 2612 0410 3245
Term deposit details –
Amount: $50,000
Period: 3 years
Start Date: 1 December 2011
Date of maturation: 1 December 2014
Interest amount: 3% per annum
Balance as of 15 January 2012: $50,000CR
If you have any queries regarding your term deposit please contact one of our customer services officers on 123 456, our operating hours are Monday to Friday 8.00am to
8.00pm.
Kind Regards,
Clark Kal-El
RichBank branch manager, Smallville
T3
CRN: 0001S
Mrs. Betty Smith
8 Peacock Place
Smallville NSW
2123
17 August 2012
Dear Mrs. Smith,
Thank you for your application for age pension on 15 AUGUST 2012.
You gave Centrelink the following details. Please check that these details are correct. If these details are not correct, please contact Centrelink immediately. It is
important these details are correct as your age pension will be calculated on the information you give us.
Marital status: Widowed
Dependent children: Nil Own home: No Living in an aged care facility: No Bank Accounts: Yes
$1,000 savings account
Government bonds: Nil Loans: Nil Shares or options: Nil Managed investments: Nil Other country pensions: Nil Current employment: None Own any other real estate: No
Life insurance policies: Nil Disabilities: Nil
Based on the above information, your pension rate per fortnight is $695.30.
Thank you for your co-operation.
? T4
RichBank Smallville Branch
BSB: 362436
Everyday Account Statement
Mrs. Betty Smith
8 Peacock Place
Smallville NSW
2123
1 September 2012
Dear Mrs. Smith
Everyday Account Number: 362436 8150 2650 3280
For period beginning: 1 May 2012 and ending 31 August 2012. Opening balance: $9,288.05CR
Closing balance: $10,000CR
Transaction details: Balance:
1 June 2012 Deposit of $340.95 $9,629CR
1 July 2012 Deposit of $240 $9,869CR
1 August 2012 Deposit of $131 $10,000CR
No further transaction details for period. End of statement.
If you have any queries regarding your banking please contact one of our customer services officers on 123 456, our operating hours are Monday to Friday 8.00am to
8.00pm.
Kind Regards,
Clark Kal-El
RichBankSmallville
T5
CRN: 0001S
Mrs. Betty Smith
8 Peacock Place
Smallville
2123
30 October 2012
Dear Mrs. Smith,
Your age pension rate per fortnight is $695.30
WHAT YOU MUST TELL US
You must tell us within 14 days (28 days if residing outside Australia) if any of these things happen, or may happen. You can tell us by writing to us, by phoning or
you can come in and talk to us at any of our offices. This is an information notice given under the social security law.
INCOME
– if your combined income changes, not including financial investments;
– if you or your partner start work or recommence work;
– if you or your partner start any form of profession, trade, business or self employment;
– if you or your partner buy or sell any shares or managed investments;
– if you or your partner receive any bonus shares;
– if you or your partner receive a lump sum amount of money or one-off payment from any source;
ASSETS
– if your combined assets other than financial investments are more than $0;
– if you and your partner’s combined financial investments are more than
$1,000;
– if you or your partner start any new accounts;
– if you or your partner gift assets or sell them for less than their value;
OTHER THINGS YOU MUST TELL US
– if you stop living with your partner;
– if you divorce or your partner dies;
– if you or your partner move into a nursing home. Thank you for your co-operation.
? T6
RichBank
Smallville Branch
BSB: 362436
Everyday Account Statement
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