The above Act was assented to on 21 October
2003. This Act amended the Civil Aviation Act 1988 and the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988. Put
very briefly, these amendments brought into law the automatic stay provisions in the AAT, the
requirement that CASA must go to the Federal Court within 5 days of suspending a person's licence
or authority (See previous article – fit and proper person), Voluntary Enforceable Undertakings
(VEUs), the Demerit Points Scheme and abolishes the Board.
The above amendments are set out in Schedule
1 of the mentioned Amending Act. There are some varying dates on which the amendments come into
effect. The Board has gone effective on Royal assent. However, there is a period of four months
before the new AAT stay provisions, the Federal Court 5 days “serious and imminent risk to air
safety” applications, the VEUs Scheme and the Demerits Scheme come into effect. So come 21 February
2004, these new systems and schemes will be upon us.
Of important interest is the fact that there
is a Second Schedule to the mentioned Amending Act. Schedule 2 has two items. The first repeals the
old Regulation 268. But wait – not until the new schemes come into effect above ie 21 February
2004. The second item is a beauty and is very significant. No longer will CASA be able on their
opinion alone, to cancel a licence or authority on the basis that it believes a person may have
breached the Act or a Regulation, and this was effective as from Royal assent. CASA must first
obtain a conviction from a Court of Law before they can rely on paragraph (1) of Regulation 269.
This is an excellent amendment and should make cancellations much fairer. However, a breach of the
Regulations is generally now easier to prove following the amendments to the Regulations making
most breaches offences of “strict liability”. These “strict liability” amendments came into force
on 6 August 2003. © C.
P. McKeown - November 2003