Internal reviews in the infringements system – this page is one of a series of information sheets providing standards of best practice and guidance for enforcement agencies.

An internal review is a right under the Infringements Act 2006 (the Act). It allows a person to apply to an enforcement agency for a review of their decision to issue the infringement notice. Section 21 of the Act limits the application of internal review to certain infringement notices or infringement offences.

Internal review is an important part of the infringements system because it offers a fine recipient an opportunity to challenge the decision of the enforcement agency to issue the infringement fine on specific grounds.

Internal review grounds

An internal review application must state the grounds on which the decision should be reviewed. The grounds of review are set out in section 22 of the Act.

An overview of each ground is provided below:

Contrary to law

The decision to serve and enforce the infringement was unlawful or invalid (section 22(1)(a)(i)).

Exceptional circumstances

The infringement should be excused because of exceptional circumstances relating to the conduct (section 22(1)(c)). This should be determined on a case-by-case basis, and may include out of the ordinary, unavoidable or unexpected situations. 

Mistake of identity

The infringement was issued to the person in error as they were not the person who committed the offence (section 22(1)(a)(ii)).

Person unaware

The person was unaware the infringement notice had been served because it was not served personally (section 22(1)(d)

Special circumstances

The person had special circumstances (section 22(1)(b)). Under section 3A of the Act, a person has special circumstances if they:

  • have a mental or intellectual disability, disorder, disease or illness, or a serious addiction to drugs, alcohol or a volatile substance, and those circumstances contributed to a significantly reduced capacity to control or understand their offending conduct
  • were experiencing homelessness or family violence, and those circumstances contributed to a significantly reduced capacity to control their offending conduct, or
  • have long-term circumstances that make it impracticable to deal with their fines, and that do not solely relate to financial hardship.

Internal review process

1. Infringement notice

An infringement is issued.

2. Internal review submitted

An application for internal review is submitted and enforcement activity is suspended (section 24(1)(b)). 

3. Assessment of validity

The review officer assesses whether the application is valid (section 22).

A valid application:

  1. is made before the fine is registered with the Director, Fines Victoria or the children’s court
  2. is made in writing (via email, post or other)
  3. includes an address for service
  4. can only be made once for any one infringement offence
  5. must specify the grounds of review (specifically or generally)
  6. is made by the person named on the infringement notice, or someone authorised to act on their behalf.

4. Further information if required

The review officer requests further information if clarity is required (section 23(1)). The review officer should request further information if it may result in a favourable outcome for the applicant.

5. Application is considered

The review officer considers the evidence and application. 

The review officer should consider:

  1. the evidence provided
  2. the relevant law
  3. other relevant factors
  4. administrative law principles.

6. Decision is made

The review officer makes a decision.

Depending on the ground of the review, the review officer may decide to:

  1. confirm the issuing of the infringement
  2. withdraw the infringement and serve a warning
  3. withdraw the infringement
  4. withdraw the infringement and refer the matter to court
  5. waive fees
  6. approve a payment plan
  7. grant or refuse a person unaware application.

The possible outcomes for each ground of review are outlined in section 25 of the Act.

7. Notice of outcome provided

The review officer notifies the applicant of the decision in writing (section 24(3)(b)). The notice of outcome should include the reasons for the decision and provide the options that are available to the applicant, which are outlined in section 25 of the Act. 

Further information

The information contained on this page is general guidance intended for enforcement agencies.  It should not be relied upon as legal advice.  Agencies should obtain their own legal advice to ensure that their internal review practices are legally compliant.

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