Procedural fairness is a principle of common law regarding the proper and fair procedure that should apply when a decision is made that may adversely impact on a person’s rights or interests. The principle has been developed to ensure a fair and reasonable decision-making and should only be overridden in exceptional circumstances, e.g. where there is an overriding public interest for a decision to be made instantaneously to protect public safety.
The rules of procedural fairness require:
- a hearing appropriate to the circumstances;
- lack of bias;
- evidence to support a decision;
- inquiry into the matters in dispute.
A critical part of procedural fairness is the ‘hearing rule’ which demands that a person be told the case to be met and given the chance to reply before a decision is made that negatively affects a right, an existing interest or a legitimate expectation which they hold. The person has a right:
- to an opportunity to reply in a way that is appropriate to the circumstances;
- for their reply to be received and considered before the decision is made;
- to receive all relevant information before preparing their reply. The case to be met must include a description of the possible decision, the criteria for making that decision and information on which any decision would be based. It is important that any negative information the agency has on the person is disclosed to that person. A summary of the information is sufficient; original documents and the identity of confidential sources do not have to be provided;
- to a reasonable chance to consider their position and reply. However, what is reasonable can vary according to the complexity of the issue, whether an urgent decision is essential or any other relevant matter; and
- to genuine consideration of any submission. The decision-maker needs to be fully aware of everything written or said by the person, and give proper and genuine consideration to that person’s case.
Please see the University Policy on Student Complaint Resolution
for policy and process.
Required forms (from 1 January 2016)