Freedom of Information Act

Under the Freedom of Information Act 1991 (‘FOI Act’), SACAT can review determinations made by agencies, the Ombudsman or the Police Ombudsman. ‘Determinations’ are decisions that have been made about requests to access documents (‘FOI applications’) or requests to amend records.

 SACAT can review the following determinations:

  • Determinations made by the Ombudsman or Police Ombudsman on external review
  • Determinations made by an agency following internal review
  • Determinations that are not subject to internal review

Please note that if an agency wishes to review a determination made by the Ombudsman or Police Ombudsman, permission must be sought from SACAT, and the review may only be as to a question of law.  Such a review will be heard by a Presidential member of SACAT.

Where a person is aggrieved by an agency’s determination, and that decision was made:

  • by an accredited FOI officer who was not the principal officer of the agency; and
  • without the direction of the principal officer or without the direction of a person or body to which the principal officer is responsible,

that person must first apply to the agency for an internal review before applying to SACAT.

Where a person is aggrieved by an agency’s determination, and that person has gone through the internal review process (or there was no right to internal review), that person can choose to apply to the Ombudsman/Police Ombudsman or go directly to SACAT for an external review.  However, if an application for review of a determination has been made to the Ombudsman or Police Ombudsman, SACAT can­not review the matter until that application has been decided.

Commencing a review with SACAT bars any right to apply for a review by the Ombudsman or Police Ombudsman.

Time limits

An application for review of a determination must be commenced:

  • within 30 days after notice of the determination is given to the person or agency, or
  • if notice of the determination was not given, within 30 days after the determination is due.

The Tribunal has the power to allow applications to be filed after the 30 day time limit if it thinks it is appropriate to do so in the circumstances. If you have not applied to SACAT within the 30 day timeframe you can still make an application to SACAT but you should state in your application that you are seeking an extension of time to file your application and you must provide written reasons as to why you should be permitted to file an application after the time limit. In some instances the Tribunal will convene a preliminary hearing to hear submissions from the parties and decide the issue of extension of time. 

If the Tribunal does not allow you to file your application after the time limit your application will be dismissed.

Before applying to SACAT for a review of a determination, you must:

  1. Make sure that the time limit for a review of the determination has not passed. If the time limit has passed you should include an application to extend the time to file in your application.
  2. Make sure you have a copy of the notice of the determination that you want to challenge.   If the decision-maker has not made a determination within the relevant time limit, please set this out in your application.

How to apply:

Click here to start an online application.  Please use the following as a guide on how to start your application.


Attach a copy of the decision you are seeking to review:

You must upload a copy of the decision you are seeking to review when completing your online application, or you can email the decision to SACAT at, or post the decision to SACAT at GPO Box 2361 Adelaide SA 5001. Please quote your tracking code or file number when sending any correspondence to SACAT.   If you do not have a copy of a decision to upload as the decision-maker has failed to make a determination within the relevant time limit, please indicate this in your application so SACAT is aware.


There is a filing fee applicable for this type of application. Payment can be made online by credit card at the time of completing the online form, or by using one of the other options outlined in the payment section of the online form.

Click here to see a list of current fees and information about payment methods, concessions and fee waivers.

If you have any further questions please call SACAT on 1800 723 767 (menu option 4 then option 5 - for reviews of Government Decisions).

Organisations that may be able to assist you:

Relevant legislation: