Human rights: Overview

The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (the Court) has jurisdiction over civil matters arising under Part IIB or IIC of the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (AHRC Act). Those parts deal with complaints alleging unlawful discrimination under: 

The Court has jurisdiction (under section 46PO of the AHRC Act) if:  

  • an affected person makes an application in relation to a complaint of unlawful discrimination which has been terminated by the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission (the Commission), and 

  • the President has given notice of the termination. 

The Court may provide substantive relief and interim relief.  

The Court can make: 

  • an order declaring that the respondent has committed unlawful discrimination and directing the respondent not to repeat or continue such unlawful discrimination 

  • an order requiring a respondent to perform any reasonable act or course of conduct to redress any loss or damage suffered by an applicant 

  • an order requiring a respondent to employ or re-employ an applicant 

  • an order requiring a respondent to pay to an applicant damages by way of compensation for any loss or damage suffered because of the conduct of the respondent 

  • an order requiring a respondent to vary the termination of a contract or agreement to redress any loss or damage suffered by an applicant, and 

  • an order declaring that it would be inappropriate for any further action to be taken in the matter. 

There is no monetary jurisdictional limit on the Court in proceedings under the AHRC Act. 

To commence an application, use the Application – Human rights.  

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 do not need to file an affidavit in support of the application. 

The Response – Human rights should be filed within 28 days after the application is received.