Claiming Compensation from us

If the department has made an error that has caused you a financial loss or some other detriment, you might be able to make a claim for compensation.

Types of compensation

Compensation can be claimed for loss suffered as a result of one of the following:

  • legal liability;
  • defective administration; or
  • special circumstances arising out of Commonwealth administration.

Compensation for legal liability

We might assess your claim and pay compensation in accordance with the Legal Services Directions 2017, where there is a meaningful prospect that we could be found liable to pay compensation if the matter went to court.

It is open to you to seek independent legal advice if you think that your circumstances might give rise to a claim that raises issues of potential legal liability.

Scheme for Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration (CDDA Scheme)

The CDDA Scheme allows us to compensate you if you have been adversely affected by defective administration on the part of the department and where no legal liability exists. Payments made under the CDDA Scheme are discretionary and can be made where it is considered fair and reasonable to do so where there is no other redress available.

Compensation is not payable for grief, anxiety, hurt, humiliation, embarrassment, or disappointment that is unrelated to personal injury, no matter how intense the emotion might be.

In order for your claim to be successful under the CDDA Scheme, the decision maker must be satisfied that:

  • there was defective administration by us;
  • the loss or detriment suffered was a direct result of our defective administration and this can be substantiated by you;
  • the type of detriment suffered by you must have been reasonably foreseeable by us.

Defective administration is defined as any of the following:

  • a specific and unreasonable lapse in complying with existing administrative procedures;
  • an unreasonable failure to institute appropriate administrative procedures;
  • giving advice to (or for) an applicant that was, in all the circumstances, incorrect or ambiguous;
  • an unreasonable failure to give to (or for) an applicant, the proper advice that was within the official's power and knowledge to give (or reasonably capable of being obtained by the official to give).

The overarching principle of the CDDA Scheme is to restore you to the position you would have been in had the defective administration not occurred.

Read more about the CDDA Scheme on the Department of Finance website.

Making a CDDA Claim

When making an application under the CDDA Scheme, you should address the following:

  • explain how the department’s actions or inactions were defective;
  • provide details of the detriment being claimed, including an explanation of how the amount claimed is calculated; and
  • explain how the department’s defective administration directly caused your loss.

Your application can be sent by email to Discretionary Compensation Claims.

  • or by post to:

Discretionary Compensation Claims
Office of the General Counsel
GPO Box 858
Canberra Act 2601

Act of Grace

The Act of Grace mechanism is administered by the Department of Finance. If the Finance Minister or delegate considers it appropriate to do so because of special circumstances, the Finance Minister or delegate can authorise an Act of Grace payment. Claims under the Act of Grace mechanism are considered on their individual merits. Payments made under the Act of Grace mechanism are discretionary and can be made where it is considered fair and reasonable to do so and there is no other redress available. This includes any of the following:

  • our direct role has caused an unintended and inequitable result for the individual or entity concerned;
  • the application of our legislation has produced a result that is unintended, anomalous, inequitable or otherwise unacceptable in a particular case (including in cases where we have acted correctly in administrating the legislation involved); or
  • the matter is not covered by legislation or specific policy, but we intend to introduce such legislation or policy, and it is considered desirable in a particular case to apply the benefits of the relevant provisions prospectively.

Read more about Act of Grace Payments, and locate the claim form, on the Department of Finance website.

Further information

For further information about compensation claims, please contact Discretionary Compensation Claims

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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