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Registration Testing

​Once a native title determination application is filed, the Federal Court sends a copy of it to the Registrar so the application can be registration tested. The outcome of the registration test determines whether the native title claim group will get certain procedural rights while their claim is an active application in the Court.
 
Even where the application does not meet the requirements of the registration test, the claim can proceed in the Court’s determination process.

Guidelines & procedures for claim registration

The following resources assist applicants to understand the requirements of the registration test when preparing a native title determination application.

Amended applications

Changes can be made to native title determination applications, even once they have been filed and placed on the Register of Native Title Claims. The applicant must ask for the Court’s consent to make the proposed changes before the amended application can be filed.
 
When an amended application is filed, the Federal Court sends a copy to the Native Title Registrar, who must then decide whether to accept the amended application for registration. In most cases, this will involve the Registrar applying the full registration test.
 
There are some amendments which do not trigger the full test. These include:
  • reducing the area covered by the application;
  • removing a native title right or interest from those claimed in the application;
  • changing the name in the application of the representative body for the area covered by the claim, where the body’s name has changed;
  • altering the address for service of the applicant.
A type of amendment which does not trigger the registration test is the replacement of applicant persons. If the Native Title Registrar receives an order from the Federal Court to replace the applicant, the Native Title Registrar must update the Register of Native Title Claims to change those details without re-applying the registration test.

Registration test timeframes & future act notices

Registration test procedures set out details of the timeframes relevant to registration testing.
 
The Registrar must apply the registration test as soon as practicable.
 
Where the application is affected by a future act notice, the Registrar must endeavour to apply the conditions of the test by the end of four months after the notification day specified in the future act notice.
 
Where the native title determination application is affected by a particular type of future act notice, about compulsory acquisition or the construction of infrastructure associated with mining, the Native Title Registrar must endeavour to apply the registration test by the end of two months after the future act notice is given.

Written reasons for registration test decisions

The Registrar’s delegate makes a registration test decision by considering the application against each of the conditions set out in relevant sections of the Act.
 
The Registrar’s policy is to make reasons for all registration test decisions publicly available, provided any confidential or culturally sensitive material is not being published. See Search Applications and Determinations.

Review of registration decisions

There are two processes for seeking a review of a registration test decision. These are seeking a reconsideration decision by the Tribunal or applying to the Federal Court for a review of the decision.

Reconsideration

An applicant for a native title determination application, whose claim has not been accepted for registration, can apply to the Tribunal for a reconsideration of the application. This will involve a member of the Tribunal reconsidering the application and accompanying information afresh, considering any new information and re-applying the conditions of the registration test. Specific timeframes apply to the making of an application for this type of review.
 
An application for a reconsideration decision can only be made once and cannot be made where the applicant has already applied to the Federal Court for a review of the decision.
 
If you wish to apply to the Tribunal to have your claim reconsidered, you must apply in writing. The Tribunal has prepared a form with attached instructions for this purpose.

Federal Court Review

An application can be made to the Federal Court for review of the decision of the Registrar. The Federal Court has
staff who can assist with procedural information about filing an application to have a judge review a registration test decision. An applicant cannot apply to the Federal Court, however, if the decision is in the process of being reconsidered by a Tribunal member.