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Department of Justice

Anti-Discrimination Tribunal

Overview

Overview

The Anti-Discrimination Tribunal is established by the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 and its main purpose is to conduct Inquiries concerning complaints about conduct prohibited by the Act.

The Office of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner is responsible for investigation of complaints. The Commissioner may refer the complaint to the Tribunal after it has been investigated and if it cannot be resolved by conciliation.

Information on discrimination

The website for the Office of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner has information on discrimination and what is unlawful. Complaints are lodged with the Commissioner and the form and information are available on their site.

Website: www.antidiscrimination.tas.gov.au

Inquiry procedures

Inquiry procedures

After a Complaint is referred to the Tribunal for inquiry

The Anti-Discrimination Tribunal is completely separate and independent from the Anti-Discrimination Commission. The role of the Commission is to investigate complaints. That phase is now complete and the Commission has no further involvement in the matter.

Now that the complaint has been referred to the Tribunal, the Inquiry (hearing) phase has commenced and the complaint is managed by the Tribunal.

The steps that are taken by the Tribunal are as follows:

  • A number of conferences may be conducted by the Tribunal to make sure that the Inquiry (hearing) is ready to proceed. These conferences are called directions conferences and information about what happens at directions conferences is set out below.
  • The parties may be referred to conciliation. The decision to refer to conciliation is made by the Tribunal Member after taking into account the wishes of the parties.
  • The complaint is listed for Inquiry which is the hearing when the parties and their witnesses will give evidence and a decision is made by the Tribunal as to whether the complaint has been substantiated.

Directions Conferences

Directions Conferences

The purpose of directions conferences is to make sure that the Inquiry is conducted fairly and expeditiously (s80(6) of the Anti-Discrimination Act).

At the directions conference procedural matters will be considered before the Inquiry can start.

Examples:

  • applications by parties to be legally represented at the Inquiry
  • applications for a suppression order or a closed Inquiry

Direction types

The Tribunal Member will also make directions requiring the parties to prepare information about their case and disclose some information to the Tribunal and the other party about their case.

Typical directions:

  • that the parties must each prepare a list of the documents that they want the Tribunal to take into account at the Inquiry
  • that the parties must each prepare documents summarising the evidence that the parties and the witnesses will give

Once these directions have been complied with, the parties will be ready to proceed with their case, and also will be aware of the substance of the case to be presented by the other side.

Note: the parties will be given time to attend to these matters and will have the opportunity to inform the Tribunal how much time they need.

Raising issues prior to inquiry

Directions conferences are also an opportunity for the parties to raise issues that they need to have considered by the Tribunal before the Inquiry starts.

Examples:

  • notices requiring witnesses to attend or produce documents at the Inquiry
  • the use of video link or other facilities
  • legal issues that can properly be decided before the Inquiry starts

Lawyer representation

Many parties are not legally represented. Directions conferences are relatively informal and have been designed to be straight forward.

Video link or phone participation 

In order to take part in a directions conference by telephone or video link, you should write to the Registrar to request that and provide a telephone number where you can be contacted (not a mobile telephone number).

Note: if the telephone or video link is organised at the initiative of the Tribunal then there is no cost. However, if you request a telephone or video link then the Tribunal may require you to pay the cost of the telephone call or video link.

If you wish to have a person accompany you at the directions conference then you may attend the conference with that person and at the beginning of the conference request the Tribunal Member to allow your request.

If at any time during a directions conference or Inquiry you do not understand an aspect of the proceedings then you may request clarification or ask for time to consider your position.

Referral report

Referral report

When complaints are referred to the Tribunal for Inquiry, a Referral Report is provided by the Commissioner to assist the parties and the Tribunal.

The Referral Report identifies documents gathered during the course of the Commissioners investigation and witnesses which the Commissioner considers should be called at the Inquiry. The Tribunal has been provided with a copy of the documents listed in the Referral Report.

The parties are not bound by the list of witnesses and documents listed in the Referral Report.

The parties

  • may call other witnesses not named in the Referral Report and produce documents not listed in the Report.
  • the parties are not required to follow the list of witnesses and documents in the Referral Report.
  • decide which witnesses they will call and which documents they will present to the Tribunal during the Inquiry.

Obtaining access to the documents

The documents listed in the Referral Report are available to the parties to inspect and copy - unless there has been an objection from a party on the ground of confidentiality. If there is an objection the Tribunal will determine whether the documents should be made available.

Parties may inspect the documents by contacting:

The Registrar
Anti-Discrimination Tribunal
3 - 25 Liverpool Street
HOBART TAS 7000

Ph: (03) 6233 8372

Fax: (03) 6233 5068

E-mail: ADT@justice.tas.gov.au

Subject to any order of a Tribunal Member. The Registrar will supply copies of documents which a party does not already have. A fee may apply.

Inquiry hearing

Inquiry hearing

  • each party is responsible for the presentation of his or her case at the Inquiry.
  • the parties need to decide which witnesses to call and which documents to present to the Tribunal as part of their case.
  • the Tribunal will only take into account the information which is presented during the Inquiry (including witnesses and documents) when making its decision.

The Tribunal may raise questions about documents and witnesses

While the parties are responsible for the presentation of their case, the Tribunal may raise questions about the production of documents or the calling of other witnesses not relied on by the parties and even require a witness to be called or document/s to be produced. If this occurs then the parties are informed in advance and are given the opportunity to be heard about whether that is an appropriate course.

The hearing

The party who brings the complaint (complainant)  has the burden of proving the complaint. Generally speaking, the complainants case will proceed first. The party against whom the complaint is made (respondent) is given the opportunity to question each of the witnesses presented by the complainant. The complainant is given the opportunity to question each of the witnesses presented by the respondent.

The Tribunal is

  • to conduct an Inquiry with as little formality and as best as the requirements of the Act and a proper consideration of the matters before the Tribunal permit.
  • not bound by the rules of evidence but must observe the rules of natural justice.
  • impartial and objective.

The Office of the Tribunal and the Tribunal Members cannot provide legal advice to a party about their case. Questions about procedure and seeking clarification of the Tribunals processes may be asked of staff and the Tribunal Members during the proceedings.

Conciliation

The Tribunal may refer a complaint to conciliation at any stage (see Alternative Dispute Resolution Act 2001). Conciliation enables the parties to decide how the case should be resolved.

Conciliation is

  • conducted by an experienced conciliator appointed by the Tribunal
  • tailored to suit the needs and requirements of the case
  • free and confidential.

Nothing said during conciliation would be disclosed against a parties interests if the matter went to Inquiry. The Tribunal would not be made aware of what was said by the parties during the conciliation process. If conciliation is explored but is not successful then the matter is resolved by Inquiry. Generally speaking, conciliation does not delay the progress of the matter.

A conciliated outcome avoids the cost, inconvenience and time associated with an Inquiry.

Process

Process


When the claim has been lodged with Anti-Discrimination Commissioner and the outcome requires action by the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal

Complaint rejected by ADC.

Review of rejection requested (within 28 days) (confidential process)

  • Documents Received from ADC

  • Hearing held

    • ADC rejection overturned and complaint remitted to ADC for investigation; or

    • ADC rejection upheld and complaint lapses.

Complaint dismissed by ADC.

Review of dismissal requested (within 28 days)

  • Documents received from ADC
  • Pre-hearing conference(s) held
  • Hearing held

    • ADC dismissal overturned and complaint referred for ADT Inquiry; or
    • ADC dismissal upheld and complaint lapses.

Referred for Inquiry by ADT

(if out of time, ADC concilliation failed, or Inquiry appropriate)

  • Referral report from ADC within 48 days
  • Directions conference(s) held
  • Hearing held

    • Inquiry held; or
    • Concilliation conference(s) held:
      • Settled; or
      • Not settled and Inquiry then held.

Resources

Resources

Services

If you require services as below please contact the Registrar in writing so that suitable arrangements can be made:

  • ramp access to the building
  • an interpreter
  • services for hearing or sight impairment
  • video or phone links at Directions Conferences

Contact us

Contact us

Contact us 

From 1 July 2015 the contact details for the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal are:

Phone: (03) 6166 4750 

Fax:  (03) 6234 3304

DX 52 HOBART 

E-mail:  ADT@justice.tas.gov.au

Address

Registrar
Anti-Discrimination Tribunal 
Level 7, NAB House
86 Collins Street
Hobart

Mailing address 

Anti-Discrimination Tribunal
GPO Box 1311
Hobart  TAS  7001