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  • Fair Work Decision: A WIN FOR A WORKER EMPLOYED AS "INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR"

    We are so very pleased to offer a very welcome decision of the Fair Work Commission in a matter in which 1800ADVOCATES Employment and Human Rights Chief Advocate, Brian AJ Newman appeared on behalf of the applicant. In the case of Jessica Tidmarsh v Aspire 2 Life Pty Ltd, presided over by Deputy President Roberts, the crux of the dispute was whether Tidmarsh, who served as a support worker for Aspire 2 Life, was an employee or an independent contractor. This distinction was crucial for determining if she was entitled to protections under the Fair Work Act 2009, specifically concerning wrongful dismissal. Tidmarsh argued for employee status, while Aspire 2 Life maintained she was an independent contractor. The case hinged on interpreting the contractual agreement between Tidmarsh and Aspire 2 Life, alongside the nature of the work performed and the degree of control and independence Tidmarsh had over her work. After long deliberation, Deputy President Roberts said at paragraph 52-53. "[52] The determination as to whether a person is an employee or independent contractor is a question of law. Having taken into account the various rights and obligations that the parties created for themselves by their contractual arrangements, I am of the view that the relationship between the Applicant and Respondent in this case was one of employee and employer. [53] The Respondent’s objection is dismissed. The matter will be relisted for conference on a date to be determined." This case illustrates the nuanced considerations in classifying employment relationships within Australian labour law, particularly in sectors like aged care, where service provision models are evolving. Our client showed extraordinary steel by sticking to her guns and seeing it through, and Jessica is a shining example of what can be achieved if you take the fight up when you know you're right. If you need help with a similar matter, call 1800 238 622, email gethelp@1800ADVOCATES.au or complete the Priority Intake Form on our website at www.1800ADVOCATES.au We are now reviewing what could be a significant wage claim as a follow-up case due to the decision. You can read the entire decision on the Fair Work website.

  • Casual workers can claim unpaid wages when shifts are cancelled mid shift

    In the context of contract law, particularly as it relates to employment in Australia, the concept of lost opportunity refers to the potential earnings or benefits an employee misses out on due to actions taken by the employer that are not in line with the agreed terms of employment or relevant legal standards. Lost opportunity For a casual employee who is rostered for eight hours but then sent home after three hours, the lost opportunity primarily consists of the wages for the five hours they were scheduled to work but did not due to being sent home early. The capacity of a casual employee to appeal through the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for unpaid wages or to raise a dispute with the employer depends on several factors, including the terms of their employment contract and the applicable industrial instruments (e.g., awards or enterprise agreements) governing their role. National Employment Standards The National Employment Standards (NES) and the Fair Work Act 2009 provide a framework for the rights and obligations of both employers and employees, including casual workers. If a casual employee believes they have been unfairly deprived of wages for hours they were rostered to work, they may have grounds to raise a dispute. The first step typically involves addressing the issue directly with the employer, following any internal dispute resolution procedures outlined in their employment contract or the applicable award or agreement. If the matter is not resolved satisfactorily at this level, the employee may then consider escalating the dispute to the FWC. The FWC offers a range of services to assist with resolving workplace disputes, including mediation and conciliation. If a dispute cannot be resolved through these means, the FWC may conduct a hearing to make a determination. It is important for employees to be aware of the time frames within which disputes must be lodged with the FWC, as failing to act within these time frames can limit their options for seeking redress. It's also worth noting that under some awards or agreements, there may be specific provisions regarding minimum shift lengths or compensation for being sent home early, which could further support the employee's claim. Employees should review the terms of their employment contract and the relevant award or enterprise agreement to understand their rights and obligations in such situations. Representation While the FWC can assist with disputes related to the Fair Work Act 2009, it's crucial to note that seeking advice or guidance from a professional with expertise in employment law can provide valuable insights tailored to the specific circumstances of the case.

  • Empowering Complainants: Advocating for Choice in Jurisdiction for General Protections Matters

    Welcome back to another 1800ADVOCATES blog, where we discuss pressing issues related to employment and human rights in Australia. In today's blog post, we delve into a crucial topic that affects countless individuals across the country – the need to grant complainants the choice of jurisdiction for their general protections matters. We would like you to join us in advocating for this essential change in the legal process to empower individuals, reduce costs, and streamline dispute resolution. The Challenge Faced by Complainants General protections matters, encompassing issues such as unfair dismissals and workplace discrimination, have become increasingly prevalent in the Australian employment landscape. However, navigating the current legal system can be fraught with challenges for complainants: 1. Delays: The Federal Circuit Court, while essential, often grapples with a backlog of cases, leading to significant delays in resolving disputes. Complainants may find themselves waiting for months, or even years, for their matters to be heard, causing undue stress and financial strain. 2. Costs: Engaging legal representation in the Federal Circuit Court can be financially burdensome for many complainants. Legal fees can quickly escalate, exacerbating the stress of an already challenging situation. 3. Efficiency: In contrast, the Fair Work Commission offers a more cost-effective and efficient alternative. Complainants have the option to represent themselves or seek assistance from professional advocates, providing a streamlined and accessible process. Empowering Complainants with Choice At 1800ADVOCATES, we believe that empowering complainants with the choice of jurisdiction for their general protections matters is not only a just course but also a practical solution to address these challenges. We propose an amendment to the Fair Work Act that grants complainants the freedom to choose where their matters are heard, be it the Fair Work Commission or the Federal Circuit Court. This change offers numerous benefits: 1. Reduced Financial Burden: Complainants can opt for the Fair Work Commission, where they have the freedom to represent themselves or seek assistance from a professional advocate, significantly reducing the financial burden. 2. Faster Resolution: Matters heard in the Fair Work Commission tend to be resolved more efficiently, sparing complainants from extended periods of uncertainty and stress. 3. Accessible Justice: Providing complainants with a choice in jurisdiction aligns with our commitment to accessible justice, ensuring that everyone has a fair opportunity to be heard. How You Can Support the Cause We invite all Australians who share our commitment to fairness, efficiency, and accessible justice to support this important cause. Here's how you can make a difference: 1. Contact Your Local MP: Reach out to your local Member of Parliament and express your support for amending the Fair Work Act to grant complainants the choice of jurisdiction. 2. Raise Awareness: Share this message on social media, among your friends, family, and colleagues, to create awareness about the issue and garner more support. 3. Join Advocacy Groups: Consider joining or supporting advocacy groups, like 1800ADVOCATES, that are actively working towards this change in legislation. Conclusion It is our collective responsibility to address the challenges faced by complainants in general protections matters. Empowering individuals with the choice of jurisdiction not only reduces costs and delays but also upholds the principles of accessible justice. By rallying support and advocating for this change, we can ensure that all Australians have a fair and efficient process when addressing workplace disputes. Together, we can make a difference and create a more equitable employment landscape.

  • Unraveling the Impact of Unfair Dismissals: Navigating the Fair Work Act

    In the realm of employment and human rights advocacy, few issues resonate as strongly as unfair dismissal cases. An unfair dismissal, as defined under the Fair Work Act, encompasses various factors, including harshness, unfair treatment, and unjust findings against the employee. In this blog post, we delve into the profound impact of unfair dismissal on individuals, shedding light on the critical aspects of these cases by the Fair Work Act. Understanding the Fair Work Act To comprehensively discuss the ramifications of unfair dismissal, it is imperative to first grasp the framework provided by the Fair Work Act. This legislation serves as a cornerstone in safeguarding the rights of employees against unjust terminations. The Harsh Reality of Unfair Dismissal An unfair dismissal often leaves an indelible mark on the lives of affected individuals. The term "unfair dismissal" vividly encapsulates the harshness that many employees face when they are abruptly separated from their source of livelihood. Unfair Treatment: A Pervasive Issue Within the context of unfair dismissal, the term "unfair treatment" frequently arises. Employees who find themselves in such unfortunate circumstances often recount stories of mistreatment, discrimination, and prejudice that preceded their termination. Unjust Findings: A Grave Injustice A core component of the Fair Work Act is ensuring that the findings against an employee are just and reasonable. Yet, in many unfair dismissal cases, the term "unfair dismissal" echoes as a stark reminder of the injustices meted out to employees who have been wronged. The Emotional Toll The emotional toll of an unfair dismissal cannot be overstated. Those who experience this ordeal often grapple with feelings of anger, frustration, and helplessness. The term "unfair dismissal" underscores the gravity of the situation. Financial Instability One of the most pressing consequences of unfair dismissal is the financial instability it imposes on individuals and their families. With their livelihoods abruptly taken away, the term "unfair dismissal" becomes synonymous with economic uncertainty. Career Setbacks The aftermath of an unfair dismissal often includes a substantial setback in one's career. The term "unfair dismissal" reverberates as a stark reminder of the hurdles individuals must overcome to rebuild their professional lives. Legal Recourse Under the Fair Work Act, individuals have the right to seek recourse for an unfair dismissal. Utilizing the mechanisms provided by the legislation is crucial for those who wish to challenge the injustice encapsulated by the term "unfair dismissal." The Importance of Advocacy Employment and human rights advocates play a pivotal role in supporting individuals who have experienced an unfair dismissal. Their expertise and guidance can make all the difference in navigating the complex terrain of the Fair Work Act. The Need for Reform As the term "unfair dismissal" continues to haunt the lives of many, there is an ongoing need for reform to enhance the protection of employee rights and promote fairness within the workplace. Conclusion In conclusion, an unfair dismissal is a distressing experience that can have far-reaching consequences for individuals. The Fair Work Act stands as a beacon of hope for those who have been subjected to harshness, unfair treatment, and unjust findings. Understanding and advocating for the rights enshrined in this legislation is paramount in addressing the issue of unfair dismissal and ensuring that the term "unfair dismissal" becomes a rare occurrence in the Australian workplace. We specialise in assisting people navigate this process and we play hard but fair to get you a just outcome. Call 1800 238 622 or email gethelp@1800ADVOCATES.au for a FREE consultation.

  • Online Harassment

    The Online Safety Act 2021 of Australia, managed by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts, is a critical legal framework for safeguarding individuals against online harassment and abuse, including cyberbullying. This Act underscores the right to a safe digital environment and empowers people to take action against online misconduct. For a comprehensive understanding, you can refer to the legislation on the Federal Register of Legislation's website. For more details, please visit the [Federal Register of Legislation](https://www.legislation.gov.au/C2021A00076/latest)

  • Unveiling the fine print: What you need to know about your employment contract

    In the realm of employment law, particularly in Australia, distinguishing between an employee and an independent contractor is a critical issue. This distinction is especially relevant in the context of sham contracting, a deceptive practice where employees are incorrectly classified as independent contractors. Sham contracting undermines employee rights and benefits and is explicitly prohibited under Australian law, notably in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). The Fair Work Ombudsman's Benchbook provides a comprehensive comparison of key characteristics to differentiate between an employee and an independent contractor. This comparison is crucial in identifying and preventing sham contracting. 1. Control Over Work: - Employee: The employer wields significant control over the manner in which work is performed, including the location and hours of work. This aspect is a traditional hallmark of an employment relationship. In cases such as Hollis v Vabu Pty Ltd [2001] HCA 44, the High Court of Australia emphasised the importance of control in distinguishing between an employee and a contractor. - Independent Contractor: Here, the worker has autonomy over how the work is performed, signifying a contractor relationship. The case of On Call Interpreters and Translators Agency Pty Ltd v Commissioner of Taxation (No 3) [2011] FCA 366 highlighted the significance of this autonomy. 2. Exclusivity of Work: - Employee: Generally engaged exclusively by one employer. This exclusivity is often indicative of an employment relationship. - Independent Contractor: Typically free to offer services to multiple clients, reflecting the nature of a genuine independent contracting arrangement. 3. Advertising of Services: - Employee: The employer advertises the goods or services, and the employee is a representative of the employer's business. - Independent Contractor: Independently advertises their services, often maintaining a separate business identity. This factor was underscored in the case of ABN Amro Bank NV v Bathurst Regional Council [2014] FCAFC 65. 4. Provision of Tools or Equipment: - Employee: The employer usually provides significant tools or equipment necessary for the job. - Independent Contractor: The contractor is typically responsible for supplying and maintaining their tools or equipment, a key factor in Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust v South Sydney City Council [2002] NSWCA 5. These factors, as outlined in the Benchbook, are not applied in isolation but are considered collectively to ascertain the nature of the working relationship. It is essential to note that this guidance stems from legal precedent and serves as a guideline rather than a strict rule, acknowledging that each employment situation may present unique circumstances. Sham contracting remains a critical concern in Australian employment law. The Fair Work Act 2009 offers protections against such practices, specifically under sections like 357, which prohibits misrepresenting employment relationships as independent contracting. Cases like Fair Work Ombudsman v Quest South Perth Holdings Pty Ltd [2015] FCAFC 37 and Fair Work Ombudsman v AJR Nominees Pty Ltd [2017] FCCA 2147 serve as stark reminders of the legal implications of sham contracting. In conclusion, understanding the distinction between an employee and an independent contractor is vital in combating sham contracting.

  • Roles of Human Rights Advocates and Employment Advocates in Australia

    In Australia, the pursuits of human rights advocates and employment advocates are directed towards fostering justice, equality, and the safeguarding of rights. While their focal areas may differ, both play vital roles in nurturing a fair and just society. Here's a comprehensive delineation of the two roles: 1. Human Rights Advocacy: - Education and Awareness: Engaging in educational initiatives to raise awareness among the public and institutions about human rights issues, principles, and legal frameworks, including hosting events, creating resources, and media engagement. - Policy Advocacy: Contributing to policy and legislative reforms to advance human rights by liaising with government bodies, offering recommendations on proposed laws, and participating in parliamentary inquiries. - Research: Conducting investigations on individual rights abuses cases as well as broader societal or systemic human rights issues. - Supporting Affected Individuals and Communities: Providing support to those whose rights have been violated by offering advice, connecting them to necessary resources, or representing their interests in public discussions. - Collaboration: Collaborating with other organisations, community groups, and legal bodies to build a more robust human rights movement within Australia. - Monitoring and Reporting: Monitoring and reporting on human rights situations locally and globally, offering insightful updates, analyses, and recommendations. - Legal Framework Navigation: Operating within Australia's legal frameworks, adhering to domestic laws and international human rights standards while advocating for reform. 2. Employment Advocacy: - Representation: Employment advocates represent the interests of employees, unions, or employers in matters pertaining to employment relations, including negotiations over wages, employment conditions, and workplace safety. - Negotiation and Mediation: Engaging in negotiations and mediations to resolve disputes and establish fair employment conditions, either on an individual basis or collectively. - Education: Conducting educational activities to inform workers, employers, and the public about employment relations laws, rights, and responsibilities. - Policy Advocacy: Working towards policy and legislative reforms to better reflect the rights and interests of workers and employers. - Research: Undertaking research on employment relations issues, trends, and legal frameworks to form evidence-based arguments and strategies. - Legal Compliance and General Information: Ensuring legal compliance in employment practices and providing general information regarding industrial laws and regulations, while adhering to the specified directive of not providing legal advice. - Workplace Investigations: Being involved in workplace investigations to address complaints and ensure adherence to employment laws and standards. Through their dedicated efforts within their respective domains, human rights advocates and employment advocates significantly contribute to the betterment of societal norms and legal frameworks in Australia, working towards creating a more equitable and just society.

  • What is unfair dismissal?

    Unfair dismissal arises when an employee is let go from their position without just cause or without adherence to the correct protocol. This principle is upheld in numerous legal systems to shield workers from unwarranted or inequitable job terminations. Essential elements of unfair dismissal are: 1. Grounds for Dismissal: A termination is considered just if there's a genuine reason tied to the employee's abilities or behavior or due to the company's operational needs. Persistent underperformance, behavioral issues, or job cuts are often seen as legitimate grounds for dismissal. 2. Adherence to Protocol: Even with a genuine reason, the employer is obligated to ensure a just process when letting an employee go. Typically, this involves notifying the employee about the reasons behind their termination, allowing them a chance to present their side, and weighing their defense. 3. Notification Duration: Typically, workers have the right to either a notice duration or a monetary settlement in place of this notice, except in cases of grave misconduct. 4. Prohibited Grounds: Letting an employee go based on prejudiced factors (like ethnicity, gender, age, or disability), retaliating for claiming a worker's right (such as availing maternity benefits or highlighting workplace issues), or on petty grounds is usually seen as unjust. 5. Legal Recourse: An employee deemed to have faced unfair dismissal could be eligible for legal remedies, which might comprise monetary compensation, reappointment to their position, or both. It's pivotal to note that the specifics of unfair dismissal differ across regions and countries. Understanding the intricacies of unfair dismissal in a specific locale requires a thorough exploration of its labor laws. If you need assistance or advice about your specific circumstances, concerning unfair, this metal call 1800238622 for a free consultation.

  • Introduction - Meet Brian AJ Newman LLB, The Guiding Force Behind 1800ADVOCATES Pty Ltd

    The Dawn of Advocacy In an increasingly intricate world, the journey towards justice is an overwhelming yet crucial endeavour. Echoing the wisdom of renowned human rights activist Desmond Tutu, "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." This ethos is the cornerstone of 1800ADVOCATES Pty Ltd (1800ADVOCATES), an organisation dedicated to employment and human rights advocacy. Steering this monumental initiative is Brian AJ Newman LLB, the Chief Executive Officer & Principal Employment and Human Rights Advocate. A proud descendant of Anaiwan (Nganyaywana), Ngarigo (Bemeringal 'mountain men' of the East Coastal Region), and Wiradjuri people, Brian embodies the essence of what it means to be an advocate in today’s intricate landscape of employment and human rights. The Architect of Change Coming from a lineage deeply rooted in the teachings of equality, dignity, and respect for human rights, Brian's formative years were infused with ethical conversations that ignited a fervor for societal transformation. However, it was his exposure to the working world that awakened him to the breadth and depth of systemic inequalities and misconduct saturating diverse employment settings. Brian's professional journey spans multiple sectors, from corporate firms to not-for-profit organisations, offering him a panoramic view into the multifaceted realm of employment and human rights. These experiences enriched his resolve, driving him to stand against concealed discrimination, exploitation, and harassment under the guise of policy. The Genesis of 1800ADVOCATES Pty Ltd With a history steeped in advocacy and law, Brian founded 1800ADVOCATES as a refuge for individuals seeking justice and equitable treatment in employment. Under his direction, the organisation quickly ascended as a beacon of expertise, offering meticulous advocacy services deeply grounded in a commitment to human rights. The mandate of 1800ADVOCATES transcends legal assistance. The organisation champions educational initiatives, empowerment frameworks, and the cultivation of workplaces that embody respect, inclusivity, and freedom from discriminatory and exploitative practices. At its nucleus lies the belief that every individual is entitled to employment that honours their inherent dignity, a conviction that shapes every aspect of its advocacy work. The Multifaceted Role of a Human Rights Advocate Being a human rights advocate, particularly one focusing on employment, is not solely a matter of legal expertise. It demands an expansive understanding of the human condition, acknowledging its frailties, dreams, and inalienable worth. Advocacy is about confronting entrenched discrimination, endorsing equitable systems, and striving for a reality where each individual’s worth is determined by their character rather than irrelevant or prejudicial variables. Subsequent chapters will delve further into the complexities of employment law, discrimination, and the roles of advocates, enriched by case studies and legislative overviews. However, as we navigate these intricacies, let’s remain anchored to the core principles that inspire figures like Brian and entities like 1800ADVOCATES—an unwavering commitment to justice, an enduring devotion to equality, and an unshakeable belief in the sanctity of human rights. The true yardstick of societal advancement is not merely its technological feats or economic strengths; it's how society treats its most vulnerable. In the sphere of employment, advocates like Brian AJ Newman LLB continue to shift the balance toward justice, one individual, one case at a time.

  • Understanding Lost Opportunity in Contractual Law: A Guide for Employers and Employees

    Introduction In today's complex employment landscape, contractual obligations are foundational in establishing the parameters of an employer-employee relationship. Both parties often invest resources, time, and faith into the collaborative arrangement, expecting to reap the benefits thereof. One of the nuanced aspects of contractual law that is often overlooked but holds substantial importance is the concept of "lost opportunity." Lost opportunity is an area that deserves attention not only for its legal implications but also for its potential to affect human rights within the employment sector. In this blog, we aim to clarify the notion of lost opportunity in contractual law, explore its implications for both employers and employees, and discuss its intersection with human rights standards. What is Lost Opportunity in Contractual Law? Lost opportunity refers to a circumstance where one party's breach of contract deprives the other party of the opportunity to obtain a benefit that would have likely occurred had the contract been properly executed. This is not a direct damage but rather a consequential damage, also known as "special" or "indirect" damages. Legal Framework The law allows for the recovery of damages for lost opportunity under specific conditions: 1. Foreseeability: The lost opportunity must be a foreseeable result of the breach at the time the contract was made. 2. Causation: A direct link must be established between the breach of contract and the lost opportunity. 3. Certainty: The plaintiff must prove with reasonable certainty that the opportunity was lost due to the breach. Implications for Employers Employers should be mindful of potential lost opportunities when crafting contractual agreements. For instance, non-performance or delays in contractual obligations could lead to lost business opportunities for employees, who could then potentially seek damages. 1. Vet Contracts Carefully: Contracts should be thoroughly vetted to clearly define obligations and rights. 2. Due Diligence: Employers should undertake all necessary steps to fulfill their contractual obligations to mitigate the risk of lost opportunity claims. Implications for Employees Employees should also be aware of how breaches could affect future opportunities, including: 1. Career Progression: Breach of an employment contract could lead to missed promotions or professional development opportunities. 2. Monetary Gains: Lost opportunity could translate to quantifiable financial losses, such as lost commissions or bonuses. Intersection with Human Rights Lost opportunities can also be framed within a human rights context, particularly when the breach of contract has discriminatory underpinnings. Discriminatory practices that lead to lost opportunities could invoke not only contractual laws but also anti-discrimination and human rights laws. Conclusion Lost opportunity in contractual law is a multi-faceted concept with significant ramifications for both employers and employees. It’s not merely a matter of legal compliance but also of ethical employment practices that align with human rights standards. Awareness and understanding of this concept are crucial for fostering an equitable employment landscape. Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.

  • What does "without prejudice" mean?

    The principle underlying a "without prejudice" meeting is to create a space where both parties can engage in candid, open discussions aimed at resolving an existing dispute. The objective is to facilitate negotiations without the risk that statements made during the conversation will be used against either party in subsequent legal proceedings. Therefore, both parties are generally encouraged to speak freely, offer concessions, and explore potential solutions. Recording a "without prejudice" meeting seems incongruent with this principle for several reasons: 1. Chilling Effect on Open Discussion: The knowledge that the meeting is being recorded may discourage parties from being fully candid. This can impede the free flow of dialogue, which is essential for resolving disputes. 2. Integrity of the 'Without Prejudice' Principle: Recording the meeting could raise questions about the commitment to keeping the conversation non-admissible in court. This could jeopardize the very protection that the "without prejudice" label is intended to provide. 3. Data Protection Concerns: Recording conversations may implicate data protection regulations, requiring explicit consent from both parties and a stated purpose for collecting such data. Failure to adhere to these regulations could introduce additional legal complexities. 4. Perceived Imbalance of Power: In an employment setting, if the employer initiates the recording without mutual agreement, this could create a perception of power imbalance, potentially impacting the employee's willingness to participate genuinely in the discussion. 5. Undermining Trust: Trust is a critical component in any negotiation, and the act of recording may be perceived as a lack of trust, which could in turn affect the quality and outcome of the dialogue. Given the delicate nature of these discussions and the legal protections they are intended to provide, recording a "without prejudice" meeting generally appears inconsistent with its purpose. If any party feels that a record of the meeting is necessary, this should be agreed upon explicitly, preferably in writing, prior to the meeting, and both parties should be clear on how the recording will be used or stored. Nonetheless, legal consultation is often advisable to ensure that the principles and protections of a "without prejudice" conversation are fully understood and upheld by all involved.

  • Reducing The Cost of Litigation: A Blueprint for Reform By Brian AJ Newman LLB

    At www.1800ADVOCATES.au, we are specialised employment and human rights advocates, not Australian Legal Practitioners. Our mission goes beyond traditional legal services, focusing on advocating for the rights of employees and human rights in various contexts. The Difference between an Employment and Human Rights Advocate and a Practising Lawyer Employment and Human Rights Advocates like us may have legal training, but we differ from admitted and practising solicitors in several key ways: 1. Scope of Practice: Advocates focus on representing, supporting, and providing advice on employment and human rights matters. While we may have legal training, we are not licensed to practise law. 2. Advisory Role: We play a significant advisory role, assisting individuals and organisations in understanding their rights and responsibilities. This may include strategic planning, dispute resolution, and policy development. 3. Legal Representation: Unlike practising solicitors, advocates are not authorised to appear before courts. Our role is to support and guide rather than legally represent in a court of law. We do represent people in the Fair Work Commission and all other Industrial Relations Tribunals and Commissions, as well as all Human Rights Tribunals and Commissions. We also attend in person investigations and interviews throughout the processes our clients are involved in. 4. Cost-Effective Service: Advocates often provide more accessible and cost-effective solutions tailored to employment and human rights needs. What we think about "Ongoing Costs Review" and Reform concerning Law Firms and traditional "legal fees" 141. A Specialist Costs Council The establishment of a specialised Costs Council as a division of the Civil Justice Council is paramount. This council would, in consultation with stakeholder groups: - Review the implemented recommendations about costs. - Investigate additional matters in relation to costs. - Carry out or commission further research concerning costs. - Consider other reforms in relation to costs as deemed appropriate. 142. Costs Disclosure Transparency in the disclosure of costs is crucial. The court should have an express power to require parties to disclose estimates of costs, actual costs incurred, and protect information that might have confidential or privileged significance. 143. Fixed or Capped Costs While the idea of fixed or capped costs is attractive, there are practical challenges. It is proposed that these be developed in particular areas of litigation, with extensive consultation and agreement with stakeholders. 144-151. Taxation and Scales of Costs Reforms include simplifying the taxation of costs, revising court scales, and considering a common scale of costs across courts. Presumptive rules and flexible recoverable costs principles must be applied as well. 152. Cost of Disbursements Prohibition on law firms profiting from disbursements, like photocopying, is essential, with outlined guidelines to ensure fair and reasonable charges. Conclusion These reforms represent a comprehensive approach to reducing the cost of litigation and making justice more accessible. Collaborative efforts among legal professionals, courts, and stakeholders will be crucial in implementing these changes effectively. At www.1800ADVOCATES.au, we are steadfast in our commitment to making the legal system more transparent, fair, and attainable, leveraging our unique position as employment and human rights advocates. Get to Know Our CEO Want to know more about our CEO? Visit his profile page to get in touch and discover the story of Brian AJ Newman LLB, the 1800ADVOCATES CEO. Brian's leadership and commitment to the field of human rights and employment advocacy set the tone for our organisation's work. Learn more about his journey and vision at [www.1800ADVOCATES.au/brianajnewman-profile](www.1800ADVOCATES.au/brianajnewman-profile). Stay tuned for more updates and feel free to contact 1800ADVOCATES for professional assistance in employment and human rights issues.

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