Review of an exemption decision

You can apply to NCAT for a review of an exemption decision made by the Anti-Discrimination Board.

Anti-discrimination cases are managed through NCAT's Administrative and Equal Opportunity Division.

NCAT can review a decision made by the Anti-Discrimination Board about exemptions from the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977.  The granting of an exemption means that the Act will not apply to a person, a group of people, or an activity.

Check you are eligible

To apply to NCAT for a review of an exemption decision, you must either be the person who applied for the exemption or a person who is directly affected by the exemption decision.

You can apply to NCAT for a review of:

  • a decision to refuse to grant or renew an exemption
  • a decision to grant an exemption
  • a decision to vary or revoke an order granting an exemption.

There is no need to apply to the Anti-Discrimination Board for an internal review of the decision before applying to NCAT.

How to apply

Download and complete an application form and lodge your application at any NCAT Registry Office.


Fees are payable for administrative review applications. View the fees and charges schedule or apply for a fee waiver.

Time limits

You must apply to NCAT within 28 days of receiving the exemption decision from the Anti-Discrimination Board.

If you apply outside of the time limit, you can request a time extension as part of your application. NCAT will not always agree to a request for a time extension.

Orders NCAT can make

NCAT can make various decisions when reviewing an exemption decision. 

  • Affirm the decision of the Anti-Discrimination Board (stating that the original decision is correct)
  • Reverse the decision completely or in part substituting a new decision for the original decision
  • An order that the Anti-Discrimination Board to reconsider the decision


Steps in a review of an exemption decision

Step by step guide to a review of an Anti-Discrimination Board exemption decision

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You will receive a letter from NCAT informing you that your application has been received. You will also be given a date to attend a 'directions hearing' at NCAT. 


The President of the Anti-Discrimination Board will be asked to give you and NCAT a statement outlining the reasons for their decision, if he has not already done so. The President is also obliged to give you and NCAT copies of all relevant documents. These are sometimes called 'section 58 documents'.

During the directions hearing, the Tribunal Member will talk to you and a person representing the Anti-Discrimination Board about options for resolving your case.


If the matter is to be resolved at a hearing, the Tribunal Member ember will direct that you and the Anti-Discrimination Board to comply with a timetable for filing and serving relevant documents and submissions.

You and the representative for the Anti-Discrimination Board should give each other (serve) any documents or other forms of evidence that you intend to use during the hearing. You should follow the timetable agreed to at the directions hearing.


The documents you need to exchange include statements or affidavits, legal submissions, references to legal authorities, cases and legislation.

NCAT’s hearings are less formal than court hearings. Generally, the Tribunal Member will introduce themselves and ask you and the representative for the Anti-Discrimination Board to give a short summary of your cases.


Usually the Anti-Discrimination Board will present its evidence first and then it will be your turn to present your evidence.


After the evidence has been presented you will both be given an opportunity to make verbal submissions about the findings of fact that NCAT should make and the law that should be applied.

The decision will posted to the parties and will appear on the NSW Caselaw website.


In some cases, Tribunal Member will be able to give you their decision at the end of the hearing. However, in most cases the member will need time to consider the case and will give their decision at a later date. You will usually receive the decision in less than three months. Complex matters may take longer. 


If you are unhappy with NCAT's decision, you may have the right of appeal to the Appeal Panel of NCAT. Learn more about making an appeal​. In some instances there is also a right of appeal to the NSW Supreme Court. If you are not sure of your appeal rights you should seek legal advice​.

Organisations that can help

NCAT cannot provide legal advice. Find out how we can and cannot assist. Below are some organisations that can provide help or advice about your case.

Last updated:

11 Aug 2023

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