In a recent decision the Fair Work Commission (FWC) granted permission for a large-scale national employer to be legally represented in proceedings even though the applicant was unable to afford legal representation.
Restrictions on Legal Representation
Under the Fair Work Act a person may not be represented by a lawyer in a matter before the FWC except with the permission of the FWC and which can only be granted if:
- it would enable the matter to be dealt with more efficiently, taking into account the complexity of the matter;
- it would be unfair not to allow the person to be represented because the person is unable to represent themselves effectively; or
- it would be unfair not to allow the person to be represented taking into account fairness between the person and other persons in the same matter.
In Slemint v ALH Group Pty Ltd:
- the applicant commenced unfair dismissal proceedings in the FWC
- the employer was a large-scale operator of over 300 licenced venues and hotels across Australia employing over 5,300 workers