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Legal Representation in Australia Before Tribunals, Committees and Other Bodies

By Paul Latimer, Michael A. Hocken and Stephen J. Marsden


The enormous increase in the volume and complexity of litigation throughout Australia was undoubtedly the driving force behind the States and Federal Parliament's reasoning for creating tribunals. Statutory bodies may be established to investigate and inquire (hold hearings) into matters arising under legislation. Committees may be set up under legislation, workplace agreements etc to investigate and make recommendations on various matters such as expelling a student from school or university. Specialist (domestic) tribunals are created to ease the burden and case load on the Courts without compromising the quality of justice. Some tribunals, such as the Small Claims Tribunal, are de facto courts and some deal with matters like town planning and licensing with the aim of "taking the politics out of politics".1 In this article, we use "tribunal" to refer to statutory bodies, committees and domestic tribunals unless stated otherwise. Although tribunals have the advantage of using specific expertise, not all legal issues can be resolved by reference to the provisions of the legislation establishing these particular tribunals. Determining whether parties before a tribunal should be entitled to representation by a lawyer (legal representation) is one of these issues. This issue can be complicated further by legislation such as section 76(1)(a) of the Commercial and Consumer Tribunal Act 2003 (Qld) which prohibits representation by a lawyer in some situations

Publisher: School of Law, Murdoch University
Year: 2007
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