Extensions of time in the Fair Work Commission; the basic principles

The general principle is stated in Mohapatra v Acciona Energy Australia Global Pty Ltd T/A Acciona Energy (2016) FWCFB 2059 delivered 1 April 2016 per Watson VP, Gooley DP and Wilson thus
Rule 56 of the Fair Work Commission Rules 2013 deals with appeals and the time period for instituting appeals. The rule provides that an appeal must be instituted within 21 days after the date of the decision appealed against. The appeal was instituted some four months out of time. Rule 56(2)(c) confers a discretion on the Commission to extend the time within which the appeal is to be lodged. The principles for the exercise of this discretion were summarised by the Full Bench in Jobs Australia v Eland:
“Time limits of the kind in Rule 56 should not simply be extended as a matter of course. There are sound administrative and industrial reasons for setting a limit to the time for bringing an appeal and it should only be extended where there are good reasons for doing so. The authorities indicate that the following matters are relevant to the exercise of the Tribunal’s discretion under Rule 56(2)(c):
● whether there is a satisfactory reason for the delay;
● the length of the delay;
● the nature of the grounds of appeal and the likelihood that one or more of those grounds being upheld if time was extended; and
● any prejudice to the respondent if time were extended.” (2014) FWCFB 4822”