Frequently Asked Questions
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State or Federal Coverage
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Can I be represented?
An applicant and respondent may appear in person. However, if he/she wishes they can be represented by an Industrial Advocate or in some cases a Legal Practitioner.
Do I need representation?
Representation is not compulsory and it is up to each individual party to decide if he/she wishes to be represented.
Does the Commission represent me?
No, the Commission merely provides an avenue for disputes to be heard and determined and must remain impartial at all times.
Does the Commission help me during the hearing?
Commission staff can only give advice regarding the established procedures.
Who would you recommend as a lawyer or industrial advocate?
For reasons associated with impartiality we are unable to make recommendations. However, you may like to check the Yellow Pages under Industrial Relations Consultants.
If I do get representation, when would be the best time to organise representation?
It is up to the individual party but the earlier the better.
What happens if "they" have a lawyer and I don't?
The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission is considered to be a "Laypersons Court" - it is not necessary to have a legal representative in attendance as the Commissioner may ask questions directly of the individual even when such a person is present. However, the represented party may gain an advantage by being better informed and advised. Any costs of that representative have to be carried by the particular party. "Costs" are not automatically assigned to the losing party as in other legal jurisdictions (must be subject to a specific application with no guarantee that it will be successful).
You may wish to seek independent legal advice about your appeal. The Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House (QPILCH) is a non-profit community legal centre which may be able to offer free and independent legal advice and assistance for people who are appealing a decision of the Workers’ Compensation Regulator in the QIRC. You can apply for assistance from QPILCH using the application form available at www.qpilch.org.au. You can contact QPILCH by:
Telephone: 07 3239 6559
Fax: 07 3846 6311
Post: QPILCH, PO Box 3631, South Brisbane BC, Qld 4101
You can find the contact details of private legal practitioners by visiting the website www.qls.com.au. You can find details of your closest community legal centre by visiting the website http://communitylegalqld.org.au/.
Do you think my claim is valid?
It is not for officers of the Registry to give their opinion as to the validity of your claim or otherwise. The law prohibits us from giving our opinion or advice. If you need advice it is best to obtain this from an Industrial Advocate or a Lawyer.
How long will it take for the Commission to issue a decision?
The issuing of decisions is influenced by various factors. Although most decisions are issued from between 1 to 3 months after hearing they may take longer. You may wish to speak to the Associate to the Commissioner who heard the claim regarding an estimated decision date.
How long will the hearing itself take?
The amount of time necessary will depend on how long it takes for each witness to give their evidence and be cross-examined by the other party. The more evidence, generally the longer the hearing. The Commission will allocate the hearing time.
How long does it take to settle a claim?
If a matter is to settle as a consequence of a conciliation conference, it will become clear on the day of the conference or shortly thereafter if a period is requested by either of the parties to consider any proposed terms of settlement.
How long do I have to wait before the matter is heard?
An uncomplicated matter which is filed in the Commission and served on the former employer immediately, is referred to the Commission shortly thereafter and dealt with by way of a conciliation conference and can be completed within a month on average. More complex matters that need to proceed to a formal hearing before a Commissioner will take longer depending on the workload of the Commissioner.
What happens if one of the parties does not turn up to a conference or hearing?
The Commission will consider the reason for the non-attendance. It may hear and determine the matter in the absence of that party.
I live in the country, can my matter be heard there?
Generally, telephone conferences will be automatically arranged in the first instance. However, the Commissioner will hear the matter in the country.
If your claim is in the Commission you will need to bring it to the attention of the Commission that you wish to have your matter heard in the country. It will then be up to the Commission to decide if that can happen. Alternatively, a telephone link-up may be used.
Has the matter been allocated, and to whom?
Matters in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission are allocated following the filing of a request for hearing and, in any event, after 21 days from the date of service. Parties can ascertain to whom the matter has been allocated by telephoning the Registry of the Commission and giving the officer the number of the application and/or the names of the parties.
When is the hearing date?
The hearing date for a matter will be advised to you by formal Directions Order.
How much does it cost?
Generally, there are no filing fees for most applications lodged with the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission. However, the exceptions are: (a) an application made by an employee, under section 74 of the Act, for reinstatement; and (b) an application made by a party or inspector, under section 276, to amend or declare void a contract or part of a contract. The fee to file these applications is $69.60.
What other costs will I face, other than the filing fee?
In relation to matters under the Industrial Relations Act 1999 it does not cost you any more money unless you file further interlocutory applications or purchase a transcript of the proceedings. Each party pays their own costs in relation to preparation of their case, unless the Commissioner or Industrial Magistrate orders.
Will it cost me to get any witnesses to the hearing?
If you have served an attendance notice (summons) on a witness, you must provide them with sufficient travelling expenses.
Do I have to pay witnesses wages if they turn up for a hearing?
Not so. A person taking out a witness statement is always liable for the costs of that witness, unless the Commissioner or Magistrate orders it.
Can I claim costs if I win?
The Commission can order costs and expenses of witnesses against either party. It is not automatic in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission that the "loser" pays as in other legal jurisdictions.
If I win my case, can the employer deduct tax or is the amount ordered to be paid, tax free?
Contact the Australian Taxation Office.
Will I get the money that I am claiming in the Commission/Magistrates Court?
If you are claiming monies due under an award or agreement that you were employed under then the claim should be relatively straightforward. If your claim is not settled at conference and goes to a hearing then a Commissioner will hear all parties and determine the matter accordingly. The Commission staff is unable to predict Commissioner or Industrial Magistrate decisions.
What happens if I win or lose my case in the Commission? Is that the end of the matter?
Either party may appeal the decision. Appeals may be heard by the Industrial Court or a Full Bench of the Industrial Commission, depending on the type of matter being appealed.
What does a party have to do to file an appeal?
An appeal against a decision of the Commission must be filed with the Industrial Registry. Note that an appeal against a decision of an Industrial Magistrate must be filed in the Court where the matter was originally heard.
IMPORTANT: Most appeals have time limits for filing an appeal, for example within 21 days of the date of the decision. In these cases, if the appeal is filed more than 21 days after the date of the decision an application to extend time is required.
If you are unclear on the appeal process, including the time limited for lodging an appeal, please contact the Industrial Registry.
Can the union help me if I have been dismissed?
That is something that you will need to discuss with them. Unions can help members with unfair dismissal claims.
Can I join the union after I've been dismissed?
That is something that you will need to discuss with them.
Anyone can apply to obtain information held by the Industrial Registry under the Right to Information Act 2009. Fees and charges may apply.
Can I get a copy of an award?
All current State Awards are available from the QIRC Website.
A certified copy of an award may be requested in writing addressed to the Industrial Registry giving full details of the name of the award and how far the history of the award should be backdated. Seven days should be allowed for this request. A fee of $0.50¢ per page for photocopying will be charged.
How do I find information on other similar cases?
Visit the website of the Australasian Legal Information Institute which has a large database of cases in many jurisdictions including industrial tribunals: www.austlii.edu.au.
What are your opening hours?
Registry Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Are there any hearings on today that I can sit in on?
Generally speaking any matter listed for hearing in a court room of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission is open to the public. Matters shown as being a conference or being convened in a conference room are private to the parties involved. A check with the Associate to the Commissioner conducting the hearing on the day of the hearing is recommended to ensure that the matter is going ahead.
Do I have to attend the hearing before the Commission?
Yes, unless the Commission has approved that you not attend for some reason. If you are unable to attend a hearing for good reason, please advise the Commissioner's Associate as soon as possible.
What does "without prejudice" mean?
That no party is admitting responsibility but in an endeavour to resolve the dispute an offer is made - if accepted it usually requires signing a discontinuance or if a Deed of Settlement is signed a clause of "No Further Claims" is usually part of it.
Can I bring a friend/family member along to the conference?
You can bring someone along either as a representative or for general support.
Can I bring my witnesses to the conference?
Witnesses will not be required at a conference.
What is the object of a conference?
The purpose of the conference is to try to help the parties resolve the issues at hand by way of conciliation.
What is a conference?
Essentially it is a private, informal meeting of the parties with a Member of the Commission, on a "without prejudice" basis with the aim of resolving the issue.
What happens if a matter doesn't get fixed at a conference?
The Commission may then hear and determine the issues in dispute at a formal hearing.
How do I correctly address a Commissioner?
Correct address for a Commissioner is "Commissioner" or Sir/Madam during proceedings.