Recently, the Court of Appeal in Perth handed down a decision in
the matter of Ethnic Interpreters v Sabri-Matanagh 
WASCA 186, which involved an important clarification of the law
governing jurisdiction in disputes over workers' compensation
A further decision on a dispute involving the application of
jurisdictional principles (s20 of the Workers' Compensation
and Injury Management Act 1981 (WA) (the
Act)), was delivered by Keen DCJ, in Goldman v
Ribshire Pty Ltd  WADC 155 in December 2015.
This claim turned very much on its particular facts and unlike
the Ethnic Interpreters case, His Honour was required to
do no more than apply the already established legal principles in
order to determine the case.
The dispute was determined on the basis of the first limb of s20
of the Act, with the result that the employment was found to be
connected with WA because that was where Mr Goldman "usually
worked" for the purpose of the employment in question.
In this case though, Mr Goldman lived in Queensland and sought
to persuade the court that his employment in WA should be regarded
as temporary. He also sought to establish an intention that he
would ultimately return in his employment to Queensland, or an
alleged promise by the employer to that effect.
His Honour found otherwise. In particular, if intent was to be
of any relevance, it would have to be mutual, rather than simply
that of the worker, and there was no such mutual intent established
in this case. There was no doubt that Goldman was in fact working
in WA at the material time and that, largely determined the
The Goldman decision, the recent decision in Ethnic
Interpreters and its forerunner, Tamboritha Consultants
Pty Ltd, cover most of the ground relevant to the
determination of jurisdictional disputes by reference to s20 of the
Act. All however involved determinations as between state
jurisdictions. The same provisions are however regularly used to
determine the "state of connection" when work is being
carried out overseas, or at least not wholly within Australia.
Here, in the writer's opinion, the application of the same
principles becomes considerably less obvious.
The (still barely) recent review of the WA Act leading to a
report that was released early last year included proposals for
changes that would deal specifically with jurisdictional issues not
confined within Australia. The growth of employment by WA
companies, either wholly or mainly outside Australia has been
notable in recent years, and continues. It is therefore to be hoped
that these legislative proposals will see the light of day
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.
Kott Gunning is a proud member of
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).