Decisions of the Health Boards or Councils can be reviewed or “appealed” generally within 28 days of being notified of the  decision of the Board or Council to the relevant state Tribunal.  

In NSW there is an appeal either on the merits (whether it was fair) or on a point of law (whether it was in error) and sometimes both. In other states, there is only a review on the merits.

As a general proposition, appeals or reviews are available for many of the decisions that Boards or Councils make, but do not include for example a decision to refuse a supervisor nomination (although this generally can be appealed to the relevant Supreme Court by way of judicial review.)

A review or appeal should not be pursued lightly. This is for a number of reasons. 

  1. Costs usually may be sought by the successful party. 
  2. The decision will be generally made public by way of the publication of the Tribunal decision and reasons. 
  3. The process can take many months and can be expensive. 
  4. That a decision of a Board or Council is objectionable or unreasonable does not 
  5. mean an appeal is necessarily likely to be successful. 

Sometimes, it may be necessary to file an appeal in time to preserve a right to have the decision reviewed. Some times in some jurisdictions but not all, the decision of a Board or Council can be stayed. (This means the operation of all or some of the decision is suspended)

There is a recent case in 2020 in which I was a counsel where a stay for a practitioner was granted. In that case the appeal was ultimately successful in that the entirety of the decision was set aside.

However where onerous conditions have been imposed, or compliance with the conditions  is arguably impossible, or suspension is imposed, practitioners should get informed advice promptly as to prospects (meaning whether the appeal is likely or not to succeed) 

Once the 28 day period has elapsed it can be very difficult to have an appeal accepted and heard. 

Indemnifiers usually will not fund appeals – although some do and have done- and it is a matter of the particular policy. 

If you are the subject of an unreasonable decision of a Board of Australia or Health Council of NSW, do seek advice promptly as soon as you receive notice of the decision. 

If I can help then please call me on 07-3007 1777 for prompt informed advice or email You can also message me at  @bwbarrister.

The above commentary is not intended and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different and these generalities are merely observations. If you need advice about your particular situation, then seek individualised advice from an appropriately experienced and qualified legal practitioner.