A former Canberra public servant has lost a bid to have the superannuation rights she forfeited in the 1980s reinstated.

Patricia Anne Ludowyk surrendered her super rights in favour of a $15,166.53 payout from the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme after she quit a 17-year career with the Department of Veterans Affairs in 1988. Dr Ludowyk used the cash to buy an investment property, which she still owns.

She rejoined the public service in 1993 with a position at AusAid and was admitted to the Public Sector Superannuation Scheme.

In 1996, she attempted to reverse the payout and regain her surrendered entitlements, claiming she did not realise the benefits of preserving her rights or the implications of not having substantial superannuation on retirement. Dr Ludowyk argued she had not been provided with enough information to make an informed decision when she opted to take the cash payout.

But applications to the CSS and Superannuation Complaints Tribunal over the past 16 years have repeatedly been dismissed.

The authorities found she had consciously chosen the refund option for her super and had done so because it suited her plans to invest in real estate.

She then took the fight to the Federal Court, arguing the tribunal had made an error of law by not applying its own value judgment to her application and had not taken

into account new evidence. But, in a judgment published this week, Justice Lindsay Foster found Dr Ludowyk had failed to prove either of her claims and dismissed the case.

''These conclusions were open to the tribunal and were not affected by any error of law,'' Justice Foster wrote in the judgment.

Justice Foster noted the now retired public servant was ''obviously not a person who is incapable of absorbing information of the kind relevant to the decision which she made in the present case or to assess which option she might take in light of that information''.

''She has a PhD from the ANU and has occupied positions of some significance in the Australian Public Service during her period of employment with that Service.''

The judge ordered Dr Ludowyk file an amended originating application so it could be properly dismissed by the court.