An employee seeking an unfair dismissal remedy has succeeded in opposing an application by the employer to be legally represented at the hearing, even though there was a preliminary jurisdictional issue to be resolved involving a contest as to whether the employee had been dismissed or had resigned. The Commissioner was of the view that the company’s human resources team was quite sufficient and that allowing legal representation would potentially introduce a level of complexity into the proceedings which was unfair to the applicant who was representing himself.
As an aside, it does appear to me that the Commission’s decisions on when leave should be granted for legal representation and when it should not are entirely inconsistent and the outcome appears to depend upon an individual Commissioner’s like or dislike of the legal profession. Most Commissioners welcome lawyers with open arms because contrary to this Commissioner’s views, they almost always simplify the proceedings by sorting wheat from the chaff.
Doyle v Specialty Fashion Group (2014) FWC 7423 delivered on 20 October 2014