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Law Council of Australia

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Paid Agents and the Fair Work Commission

The Law Council of Australia provided a submission to the Fair Work Commission (Commission) about the Paid Agents and the Fair Work Commission Options Paper, with the assistance of the Industrial Law Committee of the Law Council’s Federal Dispute Resolution Section, the Law Society of New South Wales (LSNSW), and the Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory (LSACT).

The Law Council shares the Commission’s concerns about the conduct of some paid agents, which can be unhelpful to the efficient operation of Commission matters, and lead to poorer outcomes for parties. Members of the legal profession have identified instances of challenging paid agent conduct – consistent with that outlined in the Options Paper– which should be addressed in a systemic manner. However, the Law Council notes that these instances are not necessarily representative of the entire paid agent cohort.

The Law Council also agrees that the majority of problematic conduct occurs in, or in relation to, conciliations and conferences in unfair dismissal and general protections applications.2 Some members of the legal profession have also raised instances of inappropriate conduct occurring during the Enterprise Agreement Approval process, although the Law Council notes that this is beyond the scope of the current consultation.

The Law Council partially supports the proposed options requiring legislative change (see Table 7 in the Options Paper). The Law Council supports measures to introduce greater regulation of paid agents and articulation of minimum expected standards of conduct, supported by systems for registration, education and complaints.

Read the full submission below.


1 Such challenging paid agent conduct is outlined at Tables 1-4 of the Options Paper.
2 Options Paper, [6].

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