Strike Out Dismissed as Former HR Manager of Australia’s biggest solar panel distributor accuses company & CEO of underpaying staff

By | Media Release

Susan Moriarty & Associates acts for Ms Liesa Oldfield, former Human Resources Manager of One Stop Warehouse Limited (‘OSW’) – Australia’s largest solar panel distributor. The solar giant, founded by chief executive, Anson Zhang, and co-founder Jeffrey Yu, is a national company with offices in all state capitals. In 2019, OSW was one of Australia’s fastest-growing private companies. Relevantly, in September of 2019, The Australian Financial Review reported that “Zhang’s One Stop Warehouse Group grew revenue 108 per cent to $391 million in 2018-19, the most of any company on the Top 500 Private Companies List”. 37-year-old Chinese-born Queenslander, Mr Zhang, was on the 2019 Financial Review Young Rich List and won a 2019 Australian Young Entrepreneur Manufacturing, Wholesale & Distribution Award, together with Yu.

In October 2019, Ms Oldfield filed a general protections application against OSW, Zhang and Wu alleging unlawful adverse action during her employment from 3 April 2017 to 2 November 2018. Ms Oldfield claims that in contravention of s.340 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (‘FW Act’) adverse action was taken against her because she had, or had exercised workplace rights as defined by s.341 of the FW Act. She also claims that adverse action was taken against her because of her race, national extraction or social origin and an imputed disability contrary to s.351 of the FW Act. The adverse action she pleads as having been taken against her is:

(a) injuring her in her employment or altering her position to her prejudice by:

(i) removing the payroll process from her position;
(ii) countermanding a verbal warning issued by her to an employee;
(iii) employing a HR assistant;
(iv) removing Warehouse recruitment from her roll;
(v) removing her WHS role;
(vi) advising her she did not fit the “culture” of the business;
(vii) suggesting she was “unstable”;
(viii) advising her a number of complaints had been made against her;
(ix) removing her from sales team recruitment duties;
(x) progressively removing her core duties and responsibilities;

(b) discriminating between her and other employees by:

(i) removing payroll process responsibility;
(ii) removing Warehouse staff recruitment from her role;
(iii) injuring her by causing her humiliation anxiety and distress; and

(c) injuring her in her employment by exposing her to liability as an involved person pursuant to s.550 of the Act to civil penalties for contraventions of the Act as a result of failure to rectify contraventions brought to the respondents’ attention by her in her roles as HR Officer and HR Manager.

On 8 July 2020, Judge Jarrett of the Federal Circuit Court in Brisbane delivered an interlocutory judgment, (Oldfield v One Stop Warehouse Pty Ltd & Ors [2020] FCCA 1865) dismissing the Respondents application to strike out Ms Oldfield’s claim on jurisdictional grounds stating that Ms Oldfield “claims to have been put in the invidious position that she was responsible for human resources at a company which did not comply with its legal obligations towards its workforce. She alleges that she made various complaints and sought, to no avail, an indemnity from her employer in the event of an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman of the business.

The Respondents sought to strike out Ms Oldfield’s substantive application and claim on an interesting point regarding the jurisdictional parameters for a person filing a General Protections Claim involving Dismissal (pursuant to section 365 of the FW Act) and the Courts ability to deal with such dispute (pursuant to section 370 of the FW Act) and a person filing a General Protections Claim Not Involving Dismissal (pursuant to section 372 of the FW Act). Importantly, as Judge Jarrett, detailed at [11]:

…if a person has resigned from his or her employment, but was forced to do so because of conduct, or a course of conduct, engaged in by her employer, then that employee has been dismissed for the purposes of the Fair Work Act. If they allege that they were dismissed in contravention of Part 3–1 of the Act, they cannot bring a general protections court application in relation to the dispute unless they meet the conditions set out in s.370(a) or (b) of the Act.

Whilst Ms Oldfield resigned from her employment to avoid exposure to liability for any Fair Work Ombudsman investigation regarding One Stop Warehouse underpaying its employees, she does not claim that her resignation was a constructive dismissal or that it was adverse action taken against her by the first respondent.

After a consideration of the issues and the legislation, Judge Jarrett ultimately dismissed the Respondents’ application for summary dismissal of Ms Oldfield’s claim finding that:

19. The applicant does not allege she was dismissed in contravention of Part 3-1 of the Act. Whilst the circumstances of her resignation might mean that she was dismissed according to the definition in s.385 of the Act as the respondents argue, her case is not that she was dismissed in breach of a general protection.

20. Because she does not argue that she was dismissed in contravention of Part 3-1 of the Act she is not a person caught by s.370 of the Act. She is not a person who was entitled to apply under s.365 for the Commission to deal with her dispute. That is because she does not allege, and seemingly has never alleged, that she was dismissed in contravention of Part 3–1 of the Act. Whilst she does claim that the first respondent took adverse action against her, the adverse action that she alleges the first respondent took for one or more proscribed reasons does not include her  dismissal, actual or constructive. Nothing in the previous proceedings taken by her in the Fair Work Commission indicates to the contrary. In those proceedings, she may have claimed that she was forced to resign but I do not understand that her case was that she was forced to resign because of the adverse action that was taken against her. In any event, that is not her case in these proceedings.

21. The applicant’s application is not liable to be summarily dismissed on the basis that her claims for relief are frivolous, vexatious or an abuse of the process of the Court. I cannot be satisfied that her claim generally has no reasonable prospects of success. She pleads material facts that, if accepted, may lead to the grant of the relief or part of it, that she claims. The basis of the respondents’ claims to have the proceedings dismissed is not made out. The applicant’s claim is not a dismissal dispute for the purposes of the Fair Work Act and she is not precluded from bringing these proceedings by s.370 of that Act.

With regards to the Respondents’ alternative claim of relief to strike out parts of Ms Oldfield’s claim that if the applicant was not dismissed because her resignation was voluntary, then the Respondents cannot be liable to compensate the applicant for the consequences of her own decision, Judge Jarrett ultimately refused the relief sought and found that:

30. Whilst the applicant does not accept that she has no reasonable prospects of success on this aspect of her claim, she does concede that at trial it may be more difficult to persuade the Court that it is appropriate to make an order for compensation in respect of her claimed economic loss.

31. She argues that her economic loss is a loss which may be characterised as “a not unlikely consequence of the taking of the adverse actions against the applicant”. Thus, she argues, the loss incurred after the applicant’s decision to resign her employment may therefore be argued to be loss which has a sufficient causal connection with the contraventions of the Act to be compensable. She argues that the Court may be persuaded to exercise the discretionary power to order that the respondents pay compensation in respect of part or all of that loss and that is properly a matter to be considered in the light of all the evidence at trial.

32. I accept that argument. The question of causation – that is to say what compensation is due to the applicant because of the adverse action taken against her – may be answered by an examination of the reasonableness of the applicant’s decision to resign her employment. It is not difficult to envisage that confronted with the situation as described by the applicant in her pleading, it would be a reasonable thing for her to resign her employment so as to limit her exposure to any accessorial liability. Her resignation might be seen as a reasonable and foreseeable consequence of the adverse action taken against her.

33. I cannot accept the respondents’ argument that merely because the applicant chose to resign her employment, she has no reasonable prospect of successfully pursuing a claim for economic loss. Given that the basis upon which the respondents seek to have this aspect of the applicant’s claim “struck out” is that she has no reasonable prospect of  successfully pursuing this aspect of her claim, their application for relief must be refused.

On 16 July 2020, the Respondents’ filed an application to appeal Judge Jarrett’s decision to the Federal Court of Australia. On 17 July 2020, the parties attended mediation before a Registrar of the Federal Court of Australia, but the matter failed to resolve. The matter is back on for directions before Judge Jarrett on 21 August 2020.

Benedict Coyne, Special Counsel at SMA who has carriage of Ms Oldfield’s matter stated:

“We are delighted that the Court has so clearly said that our client has a right to be heard on her claims but incredibly disappointed that One Stop Warehouse has now filed an appeal against this Decision.  Now that mediation has failed, this will add further delay to our client telling the Court of the incidents she has documented in her pleadings and affidavit.  Nevertheless, she is committed to telling the truth to the Court so that her colleagues, who may not be able to do so, receive their rightful wage and benefit entitlements as soon as possible.”

Media Contact: To arrange an interview please contact, Susan Moriarty & Associates:

P: 07 3352 6782 E: admin@susanmoriarty.com.au

COVID-19: Workplace Safety

By | Employment Law

As Queensland’s COVID-19 curve reduces and restrictions ease, plans for returning to work are a hot topic among many businesses.

But before rushing back to business as usual, the Government is urging workplaces to implement a plan outlining how they will keep returning workers safe in accordance with their key workplace health and safety (‘WHS’) duties.

Importantly, employers owe their employees a duty to provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risk.

Under this duty falls the responsibility to protect employees from exposure to COVID-19.

Numerous health and safety recommendations have been released regarding what action employers should be taking to prevent exposing their employees to COVID-19 and other related risks upon returning to work.

For more consumable reading, we have condensed some of the important suggestions into one easy-to-read factsheet.

With workplaces adapting to reflect community changes such as caring responsibilities and commuting needs, employers are tasked with creating an environment which is enjoyable and safe for their workers. 

Certainly, not all employees will feel the same about returning to work, because no two workers or workplaces are the same. You will need to understand what is right for each individual to format a return to work plan.

Importantly, Australian HR Institute suggests that support & communication is paramount – urging employers to prioritise their workers’ emotional safety.

This article is legal information and should not be seen as legal advice. Please consult with an lawyer before you rely on this information.

Congratulations Kate!

By | Our People

Kate commenced work at Susan Moriarty & Associates in September 2018 as a law clerk. But after many early mornings and late nights of study, she was admitted as a solicitor yesterday, 2 June 2020.

However, the admission process was a little unusual for Kate and other graduates, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a Practice Direction by Chief Justice Catherine Holmes, it was deemed that “extraordinary circumstances” warranted a modification of the requirements of Part 3 of the Supreme Court (Admission) Rules 2004 (the “Rules”).

As all admissions ceremonies have been temporarily suspended in March to comply with pandemic restriction the Direction provided an avenue for graduates to be admitted to the legal profession without attending a formal ceremony.

On Monday 1 June 2020, the Supreme Court made an order for Kate’s conditional admission as a lawyer to the legal profession.

She then took her oath or affirmation of allegiance and office in compliance and attended the Supreme Court on 2 June 2020 to sign the roll of legal practitioners.

This had the effect of granting her unconditional admission as a lawyer to the legal profession, with effect from 1 June 2020.

Though SMA are disappointed we didn’t get to attend her admission ceremony, we look forward to watching her achieve great things in her next stage of her bright legal career!

JobKeeper: Misuse will be penalised, Government cautions employers

By | Employment Law | No Comments

Despite being in force for less than a month, the JobKeeper scheme has already attracted opportunist employers who are asking their employees for a ‘cut’ of their fortnightly payment.

According to the ABC News, reports have already been made by nervous employees that their bosses are trying to “skin the payment” from them.

Employees are being reminded the JobKeeper payment is an entitlement for their immediate benefit – not their employer, nor the business.

Importantly, employers do not have any claim over the payment and are required by the Fair Work Act to pass on the amount in full to staff. The penalties for misuse or theft can include fines and jail time.

Calls are being made for the government to create a hotline to both deter employers from being deceitful, and provide support to anxious, uncertain staff.

Read more from the ABC News here: Employers rorting JobKeeper payment will feel full force of the ATO, warns government

To understand the JobKeeper scheme and your rights as an employee read our previous blog: JobKeeper: How you are doing your employer a favour by applying for the payment

For further JobKeeper information and advice see the Fair Work Ombudsman here: https://www.fairwork.gov.au/

JobKeeper: How you are doing your employer a favour by applying for the payment

By | Employment Law | No Comments

It seems obvious to suggest that during the pandemic employees still have workplace rights protecting them and ensuring they are treated fairly.

However, there are already cases emerging where employers are trying to take advantage of their workers. It is important to know that there are remedies available to employees if an employer takes inappropriate or adverse action against an employee in the current environment of COVID-19.

What is the ‘JobKeeper’ scheme?

On 14 April 2020, the JobKeeper scheme was introduced by the Commonwealth Parliament to temporarily amend Fair Work Act 2009. These amendments are contained within the Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus (Measures No. 2) Act 2020 (Cth) Sch 1 (Coronavirus Amendment).*

The purpose of the scheme is to support the employers, so they are able to retain their existing employees.

There are already statements surfacing, like:

“Your boss is doing you a favour by keeping you employed”

“You are lucky your boss is giving you the JobKeeper payment”

This is not the case.

The purpose of the JobKeeper payment is to save, not cut, jobs AND ensure the economy keeps turning.

What has the affect of COVID-19 been on employment?

Many employees are unsure what to do when confronted with their employer cutting usual hours, transferring employees to part-time, or even standing employees down due to a decline in usual business activity because of COVID 19.

Frequently, our firm has been receiving calls for help from employees who have either been:

  • Treated unlawfully;
  • Denied their rights; and/or
  • Not made aware of the JobKeeper laws and what it means for them.

Our office has witnessed some employers viewing this pandemic as an opportunity to cherry-pick those employees to remain employed and those who can go or have their hours increased to pay for the JobKeeper wage payment they get.

We have seen unlawful changes to terms of conditions of employment at the start of the coronavirus shutdown, hours unilaterally removed from employees and shifts cut or no hours given to a regular and systematic casual employee altogether.

But it is not just our firm noticing this trend. Disappointingly, these coronavirus-related workplace violations have been emerging in the media. Already, an employer has been ousted for horrendous behaviour telling their employee by text,

“…you work when I need you to…[don’t] forget I am doing you a favour”

Read the enraging story here: JobKeeper Australia : Shop owner’s blunt texts to employee over $1500 payment

So, what are your rights?

You have workplace rights and protections, originating under legislation and other regulatory instruments.

These protections include, but are not limited to:

  1. You remain protected against adverse action;
  2. You have a right to challenge your employer;
  3. You cannot suffer discrimination;
  4. You cannot be unlawfully or unfairly dismissed;
  5. You don’t have to agree to taking annual leave at half pay (but you also can’t unreasonably refuse);
  6. You cannot be terminated, or singled out, for no valid reason; 
  7. JobKeeper payments are ‘one in, all in’ (meaning, if your employer chooses to claim one eligible employee, they must claim for all employees);
  8. If you have two part-time jobs, you can elect which employer you wish to nominate on the approved form as the nominated employer;
  9. You are still protected from misrepresentations – you can’t be misled about your employment;
  10. Your employer cannot be dishonest with you about your employment;
  11. You can be represented by your union, our firm, or other representative of your choice;
  12. You cannot be treated unfavourably and if you work less hours than the JobKeeper payment would cover, you cannot be forced to work more hours; and
  13. Your employer can ask you to work different hours or different days, only where it is reasonable.

What can you do?

Employees do not need to be grateful, compliant or humbled. The JobKeeper payment is not a prize – it is a workplace right under the Fair Work Act. It is the employee who nominates the employer, not the other way around.

We reiterate that this unprecedented time is not a free for all. Do not be afraid to ask questions and don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself.

If you are in immediate need, contact Susan Moriarty & Associates for a short consult. Alternatively, contact our office to arrange a long consultation, where one of our expert staff will examine all of your material and advise on how to keep your employment or challenge your employer.

You don’t have to be compliant.

You still have workplace rights.

You do have protections.

* Note: the Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus (Measures No. 2) Act 2020 (Cth) can be accessed here: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2020C00128

And the explanatory memorandum can be found here: https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/legislation/ems/r6535_ems_1daae531-9b3a-493f-8596-23432c143fb3/upload_pdf/735865.pdf;fileType=application%2Fpdf

Contact us on 07 3352 6782 or email admin@susanmoriarty.com.au

This article is legal information and should not be seen as legal advice. Please consult with a lawyer should your require advice.

NEWS ALERT!

By | Employment Law | No Comments

In response to the anticipated issues employees will experience at work as a result of workplaces responding to COVID 19 virus, and to provide a quick service to employees for any urgent reason, Susan Moriarty & Associates is offering a telephone advice service with a Senior Practitioner. 

We understand how employees find themselves needing quick advice in a workplace crisis affecting their employment.  Whether you are being bullied, have a disciplinary matter ‘sprung’ on you or you have been given unreasonable time to respond to allegations of under performance, conduct at work or are the subject of a complaint made against you, we can help with urgent advice over the phone.  For a flat fee of $200.00 plus GST we are offering up to 45 minutes on the phone with a skilled employment advocate who can provide you with a quick assessment of your issue and give you confidential and strategic advice on your workplace matter, your workplace rights and how to respond to your employer.

For help call our office on (07) 3352 6782 and ask for our urgent need telephone consultation.   

Corona Virus (COVID-19) and your rights at work

By | Employment Law | No Comments

These times employees face are unprecedented in workplace relations.  How each case is handled will depend on all the circumstances of a workplace dispute or any other action taken by Employers to an employee issue.  Nonetheless, workers have rights and the various Tribunals that determine matters have an obligation to look at community expectations and not doggedly follow the rules of evidence and black & white law. 

The Tribunals are not Courts, nor should they be, as their history is framed in either human rights or conciliation and arbitration between employer and employees and/or their representatives.  The scales of justice and natural justice principles have never been so important for the world of work. 

At Susan Moriarty and Associates we understand this and while we are a law firm, we commit to these principles and what the ‘common person’ or ‘person in the street test’ would think of employer behaviour.  There are laws to follow but common sense should prevail.

Here are some tips and some challenges any employee might face during the Corona Virus response and our united efforts to curtail the dangerous impact this virus has on our populace and our health system.

1. Do I have to attend work if I am frightened of getting the virus or passing the virus on to another vulnerable person with whom I have regular contact?

Employers have an obligation under Work Health and Safety Laws to ensure the health of safety of their workforce.  You have an obligation too to ensure you don’t breach your own or a colleagues health and safety.  If you suspect infection, stay home, notify your employer in the usual or directed way and claim sick leave if you are a permanent employee.  If you don’t have enough sick leave you are able to access your annual leave or long service leave (if your entitlement is due).  Some employers require approval for you to access these entitlements, ask your employer.  If you are permanent part-time you have the same rights pro-rata.  If you are casual employee you can access without threat to your ongoing employment, unpaid sick leave.  We note the Federal Government is looking at implementing some assistance to casual employee so familiarise yourself with these.

There is a risk you can be deemed that you have abandoned your employment,  if you are just scared and don’t turn up for work and don’t contact your employer.  It is acceptable to refuse to work in an unsafe environment where your employer has done nothing to mitigate the spread of the virus by providing personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing or any like strategies.  Be careful here and contact us or your union for advice.    

2. Can I lose my job if I have to self-isolate or take time off work for any reason related to contracting corona virus or if a family or household member contracts or is ill who you must care for.

No.  The anti-discrimination legislation and the state and federal industrial relations laws protect you from unlawful discrimination on the basis of a disability or medical condition or association with a person who has a disability or a medical condition.  The industrial relations laws protect you from adverse action being taken against you for an unlawful reason such as unlawful discrimination.  You have a right to access your personal leave to provide care and/or support for a family member or member of your household who is ill.  You industrial instrument, which might be an enterprise agreement as well as an Award, may provide better entitlements.

Ensure you apply for personal leave promptly and notify your employer.

3. Can I access all the usual remedies and lodge applications in the Tribunals for things like unfair or unlawful (wrongful) dismissal, discrimination or make adverse action claims not involving dismissal?

Yes,  but you should get advice from your union or us or contact the Fair Work Ombudsman or visit their site on www.fwo.gov.au.  There have been recent posts on the Fair Work Ombudsman Website regarding COVIT 19.  It is useful information that is readily available.  The Fair Work Ombudsman will not give legal advice or advice on the potential success of a matter that is lodged with the Fair Work Commission.  The Tribunals have arranged for matters to be conducted by teleconference, including hearings.

4. If I am a public servant what are my rights?

If you work in the public service as a professional or support employee in an office environment, your employer should be taking the same preventative measures of clear advice to workers and social distancing required by all employers under Work Health and Safety Laws.  Discrimination and General Protections laws against adverse action, equally apply to the public service and public sector.  If you are a frontline worker in health or other social or support services (eg; departmental public offices servicing the community, including Teachers, transport workers and other government services), you are entitled to work in a workplace free from discrimination and where work health and safety measures are taken to protect you from an unhealthy or unsafe workplace.

Remember, there will be expectations of common sense – what would a reasonable person expect and what do the laws say.  An employer cannot protect you from Corona Virus as a guarantee but they must take reasonable steps to ensure your workplaces are healthy and safe.  If you believe there is a risk in your workplace raise it, in the first instance, with your supervisor and if you are ignored or dismissed out of hand seek advice and help.  Frontline workers in the public service or sector have a right to expect that their employer will provide them with adequate personal protective equipment, you do not have to put yourself at risk.

Thank you for reading our first blog with tips for employees.  We will be keeping a close watch on issues and complaints that come our way and post further blogs to assist employees, alert employers and stakeholders of what is happening on the ground in workplaces. 

We hope humanity prevails and issues are few.

This article is legal information and should not be seen as legal advice. Please consult with a lawyer should your require advice.

Testing Queensland’s Human Rights Act

By | Human Rights Law

Anytime new laws are set, cases will be tested, allowing the judicial system to interpret the laws according to its purpose and motive behind the change.  Queensland’s new Human Rights Act 2019 is such a piece of legislation, newly introduced to the Australian legal system, and now special counsel Benedict Coyne with his team at Susan Moriarty & Associates will advocate these cases on behalf of people fighting for various human rights issues.  

The recent case of the “Minister for barbecues” argues such issues about a person’s right to voice concerns and protest for causes they are passionate about.  Prosecutors have been given time to create a case against the “Minister for barbecues” while our advocates work on the defense, protecting Mr. Lawrie’s rights.  

“Outside court, Benedict Coyne SC said the case was about the fundamental right to protest and provisions in Queensland’s new Human Rights Act, which came into force on January 1.

“The laws need to be interpreted in a way that is compatible with the Human Rights Act, particularly the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of association, ” Mr Coyne said.

Magistrate Suzette Coates told the court, “This is quite a significant issue”.

For further details read the ABC New’s article, by Jessica van Vonderen, the ‘Extinction Rebellion climate protester testing Human Rights Act on public nuisance charge’.

Image from Human Rights Law Centre

Landmark Appeal win for a sexual harassment victim after waiting 6 years for judgment!

By | Discrimination Law, Employment Law

After experiencing sexual harassment over 11 years ago, Lilo Von Schoeler (Lilo) can finally say that justice has been served in a land mark decision handed down by the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia in the matter of Von Schoeler v Allen Taylor & Company Ltd Trading as Boral Timber & Ors (Federal Circuit Court of Australia), BRG 893 of 2011.

In 2011, Lilo filed her claim for sexual harassment, sex discrimination and victimisation against Allen Taylor & Company Ltd trading as Boral Timber, a subsidiary of Boral Limited, and two of its employees, Timothy Hey and John Urquart. The Judge at first instance found that Lilo had been sexually harassed however did not find Boral Timber vicariously liable for their employee’s conduct and dismissed her other claims outright.

In bizarre circumstances, that still remain unexplained, the judgement was not provided to any of the parties until November 2018. The parties were told by the Judge’s Associate that the reasons for judgement had been released in April 2015 but due to an ‘administrative oversight’ the judgment had not been sent to the parties.

Susan Moriarty & Associates filed an appeal on ten grounds, including one which alleged that the delay was of such a magnitude and so inexplicable that Lilo had been denied justice and another which asserted that Lilo’s employer, Boral, were vicariously liable for their employee’s conduct.

In a scathing judgement at the final paragraph of the decision, their honours stated:

It should finally be noted that the delay on the part of the primary judge in delivering his judgment has—regrettably—brought the administration of justice into disrepute.

The full court upheld Lilo’s appeal, declaring Boral was vicariously liable for the sexual harassment, set aside the primary judge’s costs order against her, ordered Boral to pay Lilo’s appeal costs and remitted the issue of victimisation, sex discrimination and assessment of damages to a different judge in the Federal Circuit Court.

Lilo described to her legal team at Susan Moriarty & Associates when she was notified of her win that she was:

“just so damn happy, I just want to dance!” and added she was “grateful that the full court acknowledged the strain” she had laboured under for over 6 years and was “delighted that after all this time, justice has finally been served”.

Postscript –
Susan Moriarty & Associates filed a freedom of information request in regard to how such an ‘administration oversight’ had happened. However, the application was denied on the grounds that the documents in question were ‘judicial’ in nature and therefore exempt under the Act. Ms Moriarty has lodged an application for review of the Court’s decision with the Commonwealth Office of the Information Commissioner.

Ms Moriarty said that “We want to understand what happened here, to discover how such an astonishing delay could have occurred. This is in the interest of all litigants. The old proverb remains prescient ‘Justice delayed is Justice denied’. The court’s managers needs to understand how and why this happened so that it never happens ever again”.