Section 118 Customs Act 1901 | Certificate of Clearance


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The Legislation

Section 118 of the Customs Act 1901 (Cth) deals with Certificate of Clearance and is extracted below.

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118 Certificate of Clearance

(1) The master of a ship or the pilot of an aircraft must not depart with the ship or aircraft from any port, airport or other place in Australia without receiving from the Collector a Certificate of Clearance in respect of the ship or aircraft.

Penalty: 60 penalty units.

(1A) An offence against subsection (1) is an offence of strict liability.

(1B) A Certificate of Clearance in respect of a ship or aircraft may only be granted on application under subsection (2) or (5).

(2) The master of a ship or the pilot of an aircraft may apply to the Collector for a Certificate of Clearance in respect of the ship or aircraft.
Note: Section 118A sets out the requirements for granting a Certificate of Clearance in respect of certain ships or aircraft.

(3) An application under subsection (2) must be in writing and must contain such information as is prescribed by the regulations.

(4) The master and the owner of a ship, or the pilot and the owner of an aircraft, that is at a port, airport or other place in Australia must:

(a) severally answer questions asked by an officer relating to the ship or aircraft and its cargo, stores and voyage; and
(b) severally produce documents requested by an officer that relate to the ship or aircraft and its cargo; and
(c) comply with such requirements (if any) as are prescribed by the regulations.

(5) If a Certificate of Clearance has not been given to the master of a ship or the pilot of an aircraft within 24 hours after an application is made by the master or pilot under subsection (2), the master or pilot may apply to the CEO for a Certificate of Clearance. The decision of the CEO on the application is final.

(6) If, after an application to the CEO for a Certificate of Clearance is made under subsection (5), the CEO does not grant, or delays granting, the Certificate of Clearance, the owner of the ship or aircraft is entitled, in a court of competent jurisdiction, to recover damages against the Commonwealth in respect of the failure to grant, or the delay in granting, the Certificate, if the court is satisfied that the failure or delay was without reasonable and probable cause.

(7) Except as provided in subsection (6), an action or other proceeding cannot be brought against the Commonwealth, or an officer of the Commonwealth, because of the failure to grant, or because of a delay in granting, a Certificate of Clearance.