Australia: Giving evidence before the WA State Administrative Tribunal

Last Updated: 22 March 2019
Article by Anne Wood

Giving evidence before SAT can be daunting, this article gives a quick guide to the process involved in giving evidence before the State Administrative Tribunal. 

Giving evidence before SAT has many similarities with (but some important differences from) giving evidence in a Court. This is because a Court aims to apply the law to a particular scenario and reach a judgement without working out what is the fair outcome (other than in making sure the process of the trial is fair and in sentencing or costs orders).

The Court must take the law as it is and apply it every single time, without discretion. SAT however is a Tribunal not a Court.

Whilst it is also bound by the law, its purpose is make sure that the fair and preferable decision is made. It is also designed to review decisions that a non judicial body has made, such as Local Governments or Government Departments.

These decisions were not made solely on the basis of legality but also on the basis of what is fair and the best for the community. As discretion was involved in the original decision, and SAT is putting itself in the original decision makers shoes, SAT must also have discretion to determine the review.

Similarities between SAT and a Court when giving evidence

Some of the similarities are that you –

  • Bow to the Magistrate or SAT Member at the door of the Courtroom or SAT hearing room;
  • Must tell the truth;
  • Either swear to tell the truth (that is swearing to tell the truth by almighty God or another deity) or you “affirm” or solemnly promise to tell the truth;
  • Prepare witness statements;
  • Have a special duty if you are an expert;
  • Get examined, cross examined and re examined; and
  • Spend a lot of time in the corridors, bored, waiting to be called in to give evidence.

Differences between SAT and a Court when giving evidence

Some of the differences are –

  • Most of the time everyone in a SAT hearing sits down;
  • SAT can take any evidence not just evidence that meets the rules of evidence;
  • Both sides of a SAT matter have to provide witness statements;
  • In a Criminal Magistrates Court matter only the Prosecution is required to provide full disclosure. The Defence is only required to provide any –
    • alibi evidence 14 days before trial; and
    • expert evidence 14 days before trial.
  • SAT Members tend to be more interactive than Magistrates;
  • When giving expert evidence in SAT the experts are usually “hot tubbed” or give concurrent evidence.

Special Duties of Experts when giving evidence in SAT

The Tribunal’s rules state that an expert who attends a mediation, a compulsory conference or a conferral of experts directed by the Tribunal or who gives evidence at a hearing has the following obligations to the Tribunal –

(a) an overriding duty to assist the Tribunal impartially on matters relevant to their area of expertise;
(b) a paramount duty to the Tribunal and not to the party who engaged them; and
(c) a responsibility to convey their expert opinion to the Tribunal and not to act as an advocate for the party who engaged them.

(SAT Info Sheet 11 Guide for experts giving evidence.)

In their witness statement, the expert must:

“(a) acknowledge that he or she has read this pamphlet and the Tribunal’s orders relating to expert evidence and agrees to be bound by the expert’s obligations to the Tribunal stated in the pamphlet and orders; and
(b) specify:

(i) his or her qualifications, training and experience in the field of expertise;
(ii) the facts, matters and assumptions on which the opinions in the statement of evidence are based (a letter of instructions may be annexed);
(iii) reasons for each opinion expressed;
(iv) if applicable, that a particular question or issue falls outside his or her field of expertise;
(v) any literature or other materials utilised in support of the opinions; and
(vi) any examinations, tests or other investigations on which he or she has relied and identify and give details of the qualifications, training and experience of the person who carried them out.

If the expert believes that the statement may be incomplete or inaccurate without some qualification (for example that his or her opinion is not a concluded opinion because of insufficient research or insufficient data), then that qualification must be stated.”

(SAT Info Sheet 11 Guide for experts giving evidence.)

Key points to note

  • SAT is not bound by the rules of evidence, this means that the disclosure requirements are wider. Make sure you include anything relevant to the making of the decision under review.
  • Your witness statement is YOUR evidence and may be used as the entirety of your evidence (this happens about 50% of the time) so make sure it is right.
  • Make sure any expert evidence complies with the Information Sheet 11 – Guide for experts giving evidence. This is very important.
  • If you are an expert you will probably have to prepare a joint statement and/or give concurrent evidence. This is normal and not a reflection on your status as an expert.
  • Bring a book or something to occupy you as you are likely to be waiting outside the hearing room a long time.

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.

Kott Gunning is a proud member of

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Anne Wood
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions