Understanding the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s Decision-Making Process: Remedies and Strategies for Trucking Industry Applications, Reviews, and Appeals
If you are involved in the trucking industry, you will, at some stage, need to deal with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator in order to conduct your business. Since its creation, the Regulator has regulated many aspects of trucking law. I issue and manage accreditation schemes, permits and exemptions, among other duties. Most applications for permits, exemptions and accreditations are usually granted, but it may happen that your application is declined. This can have significant implications for your business. Fortunately, the initial decision does not have to be the final answer. There are remedies available to you.
What can you do if your application is denied?
Firstly, there is a process for review.
You can request an internal review of the decision. An internal review involves the Regulator reconsidering its original decision. You are allowed to submit additional information for review. This new information will be considered with the information that was considered in the initial application. A different person will conduct the review; this ensures a fresh approach with a different set of eyes. After conducting the review, the Regulator will either uphold or change the original decision.
Secondly, you can appeal to the internal review
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the internal review, you can appeal the decision. A Court or Tribunal in your state or territory will hear the appeal. This is an opportunity to have your application heard by an impartial body. The Court or Tribunal will consider all the evidence and then decide whether it will uphold the Regulator’s decision or whether another decision should have been made.
What should you do when preparing for the internal review or appeal?
- Prepare properly for every step of the process. Any information you include with the original application will be considered for review. And any information you include in your review will be considered in your appeal. The biggest mistake people make is not to submit the strongest original application or internal review. People think that they can fix it at a later stage. This is not always so easy. Failing to seek advice where it is needed and then submitting a “weak” application is a mistake. It is much easier to do it properly from the start than to try and fix it later.
- Confirm whether your case can be reviewed. Not all decisions are reviewable. The letter notifying you of the regulator’s decision will usually inform you if the decision can be reviewed. It is always a good idea to seek legal advice; sometimes, the information the regulator provides is unclear.
- Stick to time limits. You need to lodge your application for a review or an appeal within time limits. These limits can be extended under some circumstances but are not guaranteed. Don’t rely on getting an extension. You may have to live with the original decision if you miss the limit.
Important: The original decision is not “on hold” pending your review or appeal.
Lodging your application for an internal review or an appeal does not automatically pause the original decision or denial. You must make a separate application if you want to stop the original decision from being enforced pending your review or appeal.