Sandi Flipton Case Summary

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Sandi Clipton (Clipton) wishes to challenge two decisions made by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). The decisions affect the operation of Sanditon Aviation Pty Ltd (Sanditon), of which Clipton is the CEO. The first decision is CASA’s rejection of Clipton’s application to renew Sanditon’s Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC). The effect is that Sanditon is unable to operate. The Civil Aviation Act 1988 (‘the CAA’) provides for merits review in this instance and potentially allows for new evidence heard and, if successful, a fresh decision made. The second decision is Instrument 1355/15 (‘the Instrument’), which prohibits all aero-towing of gliders at the Coorong Private Aerodrome. There is no clause for merits review within the Airspace …show more content…
Merits review considers the facts and law as they are at the time of review. Another advantage of merits review is that the Court is not bound by strict rules of evidence, and proceedings are often faster, cheaper, and easier for those that self-represent. The CAA is Commonwealth legislation, so merits review is conducted at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). Merits review allows for a decision to be determined on its merits of fact and law. Merits review can vary, affirm, or set aside a decision, which is favourable to Clipton because he needs to have his licence renewed to continue his business. The AAT Act outlines that the merits of the case determine whether a decision was correct and preferable. The Tribunal can review certain decisions that fall within its jurisdiction. S 33 determines that the procedure for merits review must be completed in accordance with the relevant legislation. Clipton can apply to the AAT Act for review of a reviewable decision 31(2). A reviewable decision included in is “a refusal to grant…a certificate” . The CAA states that a “decision” that it makes has the same meaning as in the AAT Act 1975. The decision in this case falls within this definition and is therefore …show more content…
He has already begun attempting to address the issues. For example, he is trying to recruit a new Maintenance Supervisor. Should Clipton be successful, the facts would have changed and the matter would be determined on those new facts. However, CASA may respond that Clipton has failed to act in a timely manner, evident by his poor attitude towards civil aviation laws and public safety concerns. Clipton could produce ‘fresh’ evidence of those facts to present to the merits review body, as determined in Shi v Migration Agents Registration Authority . This is Clipton’s best avenue to have his licence application accepted and AOC renewed.

REMEDIES
S 43(1) of the AAT Act confers a broad power of remedies. The CAA does not truncate these. Remedies under s 42F of the AAT Act determine that the Court may affirm CASA’s decision, rescind and substitute their own decision, or remit matter back to CASA with recommendations or directions. Accordingly, if Clipton’s merits review is successful, the Court could substitute the decision not to renew his AOC with a fresh decision in the case of a hearing de novo. This decision would legally take the place of the original decision to refuse renewal in its original

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