Legislative assembly for the australian capital territory

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Presented by the


Simon Corbell MLA


Explanatory Statement
This explanatory statement relates to the Magistrates Court (Industrial Proceedings) Amendment Bill 2013 as introduced in the ACT Legislative Assembly.

Overview of Bill

The Magistrates Court (Industrial Proceedings) Amendment Bill 2013 amends the Magistrates Court Act 1930 to establish an Industrial Court jurisdiction when the Magistrates Court is constituted by the Industrial Court Magistrate and in other specific circumstances.
The Industrial Court will hear work safety matters and industrial civil claims up to $250,000 coming before the Magistrates Court and workers’ compensation matters, including arbitration matters, presently within the jurisdiction of the Magistrates Court.
The Industrial Court will have jurisdiction to hear and determine proceedings under legislation falling within the responsibility of the Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations with the exception of the Long Service Leave Acts, which do not directly relate to industrial worker compensation matters, the Annual Leave Act 1973 and the Truck Act 1900, both of which are being repealed because they have been superseded by the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), and the Holidays Act 1958 and the Standard Time and Summer Time Act 1972, both of which do not contain any justiciable causes of action. There is provision also for other legislation to expressly confer jurisdiction on the Industrial Court.
The Industrial Court when it is sitting will also hear all industrial criminal matters currently heard in the Magistrates Court.
Industrial civil matters will be heard at first instance in the Industrial Court, and there is provision for the Court to refer matters to the Supreme Court in certain circumstances:

    • where one party applies to have a matter removed to the Supreme Court, and the Industrial Court considers it appropriate to do so;

    • where the parties jointly apply to have a matter removed to the Supreme Court; or

    • on the own initiative of the Industrial Court, where it considers that the matter would be more appropriately dealt with in the Supreme Court.

The Chief Magistrate can declare a magistrate to be the Industrial Court Magistrate for a specified period of not more than four years and can assign a magistrate to act as Industrial Court Magistrate.

The Chief Magistrate can also assign other magistrates to exercise the jurisdiction if the Chief Magistrate is satisfied that a perception of bias may arise if the Industrial Court Magistrate were to deal with a matter or it is in the interests of justice to do so.
There is also provision for the Chief Magistrate to assign another magistrate to deal with an industrial or work safety matter if the presiding magistrate dies or becomes mentally or physically incapacitated, resigns or is otherwise unable to continue to deal with the matter.
The Chief Magistrate is responsible for allocating and ensuring the orderly and prompt discharge of the business of the Industrial Court.
There is also provision for part-heard matters to be finally decided by the same magistrate in circumstances where the Industrial Court Magistrate ceases to be the Industrial Court Magistrate.
The Bill does not disturb the jurisdiction of matters currently heard by the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
The Bill does not engage any human rights.

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