The risks associated with self-representation at the Fair Work Commission

Have you recently been dismissed from your workplace and are considering representing yourself at the Fair Work Commission (FWC)? Stop right there.

Many individuals believe that appearing for themselves before the FWC is their only or best option. Both of these perceptions are often influenced by the belief that their matter is straight forward. However, the Law Council of Australia has demonstrated that there are significant risks associated with self-representation. Namely, self-represented litigants tend to appear before the Commission ‘under-prepared, overwhelmed and without any clear sense of the issues to be determined, and the manner in which those issues will be determined’. This lack of experience and understanding of the conciliation process is likely to result in a less targeted approach during conciliation, which creates a kind of back-pedalling when it comes to resolving the dispute.

This is where the advantage of representation lies. At Limestone Law Pty Ltd, we have a team of experienced employment lawyers who are aware that the stress of being dismissed is one thing and commencing legal proceedings as a result is another. It is no secret that the legal justice system can be a battlefield, and for those involved in pursuing a claim for compensation as a result of being dismissed, it can be daunting, stressful and confusing. The purpose of representation is to alleviate the pressure, answer the questions and resolve the dispute at the earliest stage.

If you are considering lodging an unfair dismissal application, and find yourself asking questions such as ‘what if I lodge the wrong claim’, ‘what if my claim is outside the limitation period’, and ‘what do I write in my claim’, contact our office to speak with an experienced lawyer now.