One of the strengths of the State Administrative Tribunal
(SAT) is that is more informal than a Court and
therefore has a greater scope to resolve issues rather than simply
impose fines. However this informality can sometimes mean that it
is necessary to look at previous decisions of SAT to predict what
is likely to happen in a given case. The issue of extensions of
time to lodge review applications before SAT is one such
So what will SAT look at when deciding whether to grant an
extension of time for a review to be lodged? There are four main
principles which you will need to be prepared to make submissions
on in SAT. These are discussed in many cases but can be found in
Hartwig and City of Canning  WASAT 243. The four principles
Length of delay
Reason for delay
Whether there is an arguable case
The extent of any prejudice to the respondent.
The decision made by SAT will depend on the circumstances of
each case so it is worth examining a few of the cases.
Goedhart and Western Australian Planning Commission 
In this case:
a delay of between 81 and 87 days was found to be
the reasons for the delay which were serious illness and injury
to the party seeking the review where found to explain the delay
and to be reasonable;
there was found to be an arguable case; and
there was considered to be no prejudice to the Western
Australian Planning Commission if the extension was granted.
The extension of time was granted.
Hartwig and City of Canning  WASAT 243
In this case a notice to clean up the property was issued under
the Health Act 1911, SAT found:
A delay of 155 days (approximately 5 months) was found to be
The reasons for delay were not considered to be
There appeared to be an arguable case;
There appear to be no prejudice to the Respondent;
The application for extension of time was dismissed.
The reasons for delay given by the Applicant were (summarised at
paragraph 17 of the case):
The respondent induced the applicant to believe the time was
not of the essence;
The applicant was proceeding on the basis of a reasonable but
mistaken belief that the house was occupied until late November
The applicant could not enter upon and effect repairs to the
house, given the violent and aggressive nature of the tenant, until
the house was vacant."
In that case SAT found that the applicant was:
A landlord with a significant number of properties with access
to a significant number of contractors and "handymen" who
could have assisted with this job;
Experienced in evicting tenants through the Court system but
took no action to do so during the period of the notice;
When the tenant did vacant the property, (prior to November
2007) the applicant subsequently decided to demolish the property
but there was a delay in submitting the demolition licence
application which was not submitted until February 2008;
A prosecution notice was served in December 2007 and default
judgement obtained but still no review of the notice was sought
until the day before reinstated prosecution proceedings in April
It was found that although there was an arguable case and no
prejudice to the Respondent that the length of delay and the lack
of adequate or acceptable reasons for that delay meant that the
application for extension of time should be refused.
It is important to note that prejudice to the Respondent may
include actions such as contracts entered into or funds spent,
assuming that the time for an application for a decision to be
reviewed has expired. For example in a recent, as yet unreported,
a City had issued a Planning and Development Act 2005
Direction Notice and
entered into a contract to have an unauthorised development
removed from the site; and
the removal of the unauthorised development had commenced (and
was ongoing) after the Applicant had failed to comply with the
On the 128 day after the time to apply for a review expired, an
application for review was lodged and an extension of time was
sought. SAT rejected the application for extension of time on the
the delay was considerable;
there were no acceptable or adequate reasons for the
there was no arguable case; and
there was considerable prejudice to the Respondent who had
already incurred costs in the removal of the development having
relied upon the time for applying for review having long since
Extensions of time cases will always depend on the circumstances
of the case and will most likely be argued at the first appearance,
so make sure you think about the four principles and how your case
fits within those principles when commencing or defending an
"extension of time to apply for review of decision"
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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