Australian Government Solicitor


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Environmental law  


Appearing in the Fair Work Commission

Who should attend

Human Resource Managers and others who might be required to represent their organisation in the Fair Work Commission, in:

  • seeking certification of an Enterprise Agreement
  • managing a dispute under an EA
  • responding to an application for an anti-bullying order
  • responding to a general protections dispute
  • responding to an unfair dismissal claim

Course outline

The course will explore:

  • the role and powers of the Fair Work Commission, and the scope and limits of its jurisdiction
  • identifying applicable law to understand what the proceedings can achieve
  • how understanding FWC process, procedure and conventions can progress matters efficiently and limit your risk of looking stupid
  • how to influence the timetable for proceedings
  • the difference between conferences and hearings
  • preparing for conferences and hearings
  • negotiation, settlement and the Legal Services Directions
  • the difference between facts and evidence
  • presenting evidence in written and oral form
  • preparing to examine witnesses
  • making submissions
  • raising objections
  • seeking an adjournment
  • options for appealing an unfavourable outcome


Virginia Masters is a Senior Executive Lawyer with over a decade of experience in handling complex and intractable employment issues for the Commonwealth. She has defended decisions made by managers and delegates in the Fair Work Commission, Australian Human Rights Commission, the Federal Circuit Court, and the Federal Court. Virginia uses that experience to teach managers how to make employment decisions that are sound, well-reasoned, and defensible, and is now using that experience to teach managers how to get the best possible result out of a trip to the Fair Work Commission.

Catherine Mann is a Senior Lawyer who advises on public sector employment law and administrative law and conducts related litigation. She assists public sector agencies to navigate employment issues such as misconduct, underperformance and ill health, and represents Commonwealth agencies in employment-related dispute resolution in courts and tribunals. Catherine's recent experience includes representing the Commonwealth in the Ashby v Slipper litigation and the relevant Minister in the Barclay High Court appeal, as well as work on the fleet-grounding Qantas industrial dispute. Her experience also includes administrative law litigation in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Federal Court and Federal Circuit Court. Catherine will share some practical tips for negotiating in conference, derived from her experience in settling complex disputes.

Damien O’Donovan is an in-house advocate with a wide variety of experience advising and appearing for the Commonwealth across areas including competition law, administrative law and employment law. He has extensive experience as an advocate in the Federal Court, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, the ACT Supreme Court and Fair Work Commission. Damien will provide some useful insights into the process of preparing for a hearing, particularly preparing to question witnesses.


This is a 1 day course. Morning, lunch and afternoon tea will be provided.


Standard fee – $920 (inclusive of GST) per person.

No more than 20 people will be accepted on each course, and courses will only be conducted if we receive sufficient nominations.