There is a tussle taking place in the Queensland
Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) regarding the right of an
employer to be heard in an appeal by a worker against a decision of
Two recent cases have come to very different conclusions in
relation to the employer's right to be heard.
In the first case, the QIRC found that a self-insurer and an
employer did not have the right to be heard at an appeal by a
worker against a decision of the Regulator. The QIRC specifically
noted that there is no provision in the Workers'
Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (WCRA) that allows
for a self-insurer or an employer to be heard in an application
brought by a worker for the review of a decision of the
While the QIRC accepted that there was a body of authority
supporting the discretionary power of the QIRC to make an order
giving an employer (rather than a self-insurer) a right to be heard
in such an appeal, the QIRC was of the opinion that it was not
bound to follow the previous authority. It is also important to
note that this case involved secondary issues surrounding the late
filing of the application by the employer or self-insurer,
specifically where the application to be heard was filed within one
week of the commencement of the hearing. Accordingly, it was
determined that neither the self-insurer nor the employer was able
to be heard at the appeal.
However, in the second (and more recent) case the QIRC
considered that an employer did have a right to be heard in an
appeal by a worker. This decision was based on the Industrial
Relations Act 1999 and considered the discretionary power
granted under section 320 in combination with section 582 of the
WCRA. The QIRC determined that there was sufficient authority in
the Industrial Court of Queensland to find that the employer did
have a right to be heard and that the QIRC was bound by the
decisions of that Court.
These cases confirm that a self-insurer does not have a right to
be heard in an appeal by a worker. However, the rights of an
employer are less clear. If previous authority is followed, the
QIRC does have a discretionary power to allow an employer to be
heard at an appeal. However, these cases indicate the QIRC will not
always follow previous authority.
Winner – EOWA Employer of Choice for Women Citation 2009,
2010, 2011 and 2012
Winner – ALB Gold Employer of Choice 2011 and 2012
Finalist – ALB Australasian Law Awards 2008, 2010, 2011 and
2012 (Best Brisbane Firm)
Winner – BRW Client Choice Awards 2009 and 2010 - Best
Australian Law Firm (revenue less than $50m)
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
An employee that refused a reasonable offer of settlement was ordered by the FWC to pay his ex-employer's legal costs.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).