Decisions by outside bodies
under clause 11 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Report of Operations) Orders 2008, CASA must report judicial decisions and decisions of administrative tribunals that have had, or may have, an impact on CASA's operations.
In 2010–11, decisions involving CASA were handed down by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) and the Federal Court of Australia. CASA applied to the Federal Court for one prohibition order during the year.
Administrative Appeals Tribunal
The AAT gave its decision in Avtex Air Services Pty Ltd and Civil Aviation Safety Authority  AATA 61 on 4 February 2011.
This matter was the first AAT review of a decision made by CASA under the serious and imminent risk provisions contained in section 30DI of the Civil Aviation Act 1988.
On 23 July 2010, CASA suspended Air Operator's Certificates (AOCs) each held by Avtex Air Services Pty ltd (Avtex) and Skymaster Air Services Pty ltd, under section 30DC of the Civil Aviation Act, on the basis that both companies had engaged in, were engaging in, or were likely to engage in, conduct which constituted, contributed to or resulted in a serious and imminent risk to air safety.
On 20 August 2010, CASA cancelled the AOCs of both companies under section 30DI of the Act. Avtex immediately applied to the AAT for a review of CASA's decision, and, in the interim, sought a stay of the decision pending determination by the AAT of its review application. The stay application was refused following a hearing held on 27 August 2010. The hearing of Avtex's substantive application was conducted over 16 hearing days in September, October and November 2010.
The AAT made a decision on 4 February 2011, affirming CASA's decision to cancel Avtex's AOC. The tribunal was satisfied that multiple serious deficiencies in Avtex's systems and procedures and many serious documented failures by the company, its senior management and key personnel to conduct its activities in compliance with the requirements of the aviation legislation gave rise to a serious and imminent risk to air safety which required the cancellation of the AOC.
The Hon Justice Shane Marshall of the Federal Court gave his decision in Jones v Civil Aviation Safety Authority and Anor  FCA 632 on 6 June 2011.
This case involved the first judicial challenge to a warrant issued to a CASA investigator pursuant to Part IIIA of the Civil Aviation Act. On 1 March 2011, a CASA investigator obtained a warrant under section 32AF of the Act from a Magistrate in Melbourne, authorising the inspector to enter the offices of lawyers acting for the company that produced the Channel 10 television series 'Keeping up with the Joneses', featuring the applicant, Mr Milton Stanley Knight Jones, and his family. The warrant authorised the investigator to seize DVDs containing raw footage shot during the production of the television series, which the investigator suspected may depict Mr Jones committing offences against the aviation legislation.
On the same day, Mr Jones commenced proceedings in the Federal Court under section 39B of the Judiciary Act 1903, seeking to have the warrant set aside, ultimately on the basis that the sworn material put before the Magistrate by the CASA investigator was not sufficient to enable the Magistrate to be satisfied (as required under section 32AF of the Civil Aviation Act) that there were reasonable grounds for suspecting that the material specified in the warrant may afford evidence of the commission of an offence against the aviation legislation.
Mr Jones's application was heard on 27 May 2011. On 6 June 2011, Justice Marshall handed down a judgment in which he dismissed Mr Jones's application and found that the material put before the Magistrate by the CASA investigator was sufficient to allow the Magistrate to form the satisfaction required under section 32AF. This matter is now on appeal to the Full Federal Court.
In accordance with the Civil Aviation Act, CASA may suspend a civil aviation authorisation where there is a serious and imminent safety risk. Such suspensions cease after five business days unless CASA applies to the Federal Court for a prohibition order before the expiry of the five-day period. CASA made one application to the Federal Court for a prohibition order during 2010–11. On 3 August 2010, the Federal Court made an order prohibiting Avtex Air Services Pty ltd and Skymaster Air Services Pty ltd from doing anything authorised by the Air Operator's Certificates each of them held.
Coroners have the authority to investigate deaths, identify other injuries and make recommendations which may prevent deaths and non-fatal injuries. Coroners' findings vary from brief descriptions about the place of death, the identity of the deceased and the cause of death, through to detailed descriptions of the circumstances leading to death and detailed recommendations concerning what could be done to prevent similar deaths and injuries. Such recommendations may deal with the administration of aviation safety by CASA.