Human rights: I want to apply

Unless the Court orders otherwise, to commence an application you must file your application within 60 days from the date on the notice of termination from the President, or seek an extension of time for filing the application.  

You will need to file:  

  • a completed Application – Human rights, and  

  • a copy of the complaint that you made to the Commission, and 

  • a copy of the notice of termination from the president of the Commission. 

If you are out of time and want to apply for an extension of time within which to apply, you must complete Part E of the Application – Human rights

If you complete the application form satisfactorily, you do not need to file a supporting affidavit or pleading. However, if you do not fully complete the application form, you may also need to file either a pleading by way of a statement of claim or points of claim, or an Affidavit setting out the evidence supporting your application.  

If you file a pleading, it should comply with Part 16 of the Federal Court Rules 2011 and it should identify, in summary form, the material facts on which you rely, but not the evidence by which those facts are to be proved. 

If you need to file an affidavit, see the fact sheet Preparing an affidavit

Filing with the Court 

Wherever possible, you must file court documents online using eLodgment. You can follow these instructions on how to use eLodgment or see the Federal Court website

If it is not possible to file using eLodgment, you may be able to file your documents in-person, by mail, or in certain circumstances, by fax or email. Contact the Court if you are not sure how to file the documents. 

How do I notify the respondent? 

After filing your application, you must serve a copy of each document on each other party.  

Unless the Court orders otherwise, you must serve the application (and other documents filed with it) at least seven days before the day fixed for hearing the application.  

Service must be by hand, unless the Court otherwise orders. You can serve the documents by delivering them in person or sending them by registered or express post. 

If you cannot serve the documents in person, or the documents sent by post cannot be delivered, you can apply to the Court for an order of substituted service. You make that application by filing an Application in a proceeding with an accompanying affidavit explaining why you want substituted service.  

The application and other documents must be served on each party and the person against whom orders are sought if that person is not a party.  

At least five days before the first court date, you must give the Australian Human Rights Commission: 

  • a sealed copy of the application, and 

  • a copy of any other documents filed. 

After the documents have been served, you will need to complete an affidavit of service, which is evidence that the application was served. The affidavit of service must be sworn or affirmed in front of a person authorised by law to witness the swearing of affidavits, such as a lawyer or Justice of the Peace. You should file the affidavit of service with the Court (using eLodgment) and have a copy of the filed affidavit of service with you at your court hearing.  

First court date 

The first court date is a case management hearing to set a timetable for the case and see whether the matter might resolve.  

The orders made on the first court date are likely to include an order for mediation

The orders might also include a timetable for the respondent to file a Response – Human rights or any other documents relevant to the proceeding. 

If you and the respondent can agree on a timetable, you might be able to avoid attendance at the hearing. If you have agreed, you or the respondent will have to prepare proposed consent orders. You will need to send the Court registry a draft of what you have agreed, signed by each party and stating that it is a ‘consent order’.