A party may be represented in proceedings before the Court or the Commission by a legal practitioner, a Registered Agent, an officer or employee of an association of which the party is a member, or a person who provides the representation gratuitously.
The Fair Work Act 1994, sections 151 and 152 in particular, set out the conditions for representation of people in cases before the Court and Commission.
The right of representation is qualified by s 203 of the Fair Work Act 1994 which relates to conferences held during industrial disputes. Section 203 says that a party to a dispute may be represented at these conferences by a legal practitioner or Registered Agent with the permission of the person presiding at the conference, with some exceptions which are set out in the section 203.
The Fair Work Act 1994 and the associated Fair Work (Representation) Regulations 2009 provide for up to two year terms of registration. From 1 July 2012 the fees for registration and renewal under these Regulations are $211 on registration (which includes the first year of registration) and $211 for each year of registration. Subject to any submission the applicant may make, the usual period of registration is two years ($422).
A "Recognised Advocate" is a type of Registered Agent; he or she is a person who is an officer or employee of an association and whose registration as a registered agent under the Act is supported by that association or by an employer of public employees.
In addition to the rights of representation by a legal practitioner, a Registered Agent or an officer or employee of an association, a party may be represented in a case before the Industrial Relations Court or Commission by a person of his or her choice provided that the person is not acting for fee or reward.
A party may not be represented in proceedings before the Court or Commission by a person whose name has been struck off the roll of legal practitioners or who, although a legal practitioner, is not entitled to practise the profession of the law because of disciplinary action taken against him or her who is disqualified by regulation from registration as an agent.
The Registrar is required to keep a list of Registered Agents. This list (click here) of registered agents is provided as general information and is not to be taken as a recommendation by the Court and Commission of any particular Registered Agent on the list nor as a recommendation of Registered Agents as a form of representation over others, for example, lawyers or officers or employees of an association. (Options for representation and advice can be found on pg 22 of the unfair dismissal guide on this web site.)