Contentions - purpose and content

In the decision in Gill v Roberts [2011] QCAT 515 (1 November 2011), a complaint of discrimination was dismissed because the complainant had not complied with orders made by the tribunal that she file and serve contentions.

These are some of the points of interest from the decision:

The Qld Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) expects parties to take active steps to engage in a proceeding (para 6).

The applicant (complainant) is required to set out details of the complaint at the very outset of the tribunal process (para 7).

The contentions should contain (para 7):

  • details to identify what facts are relied on by an applicant,
  • what the applicant is alleging is the legal basis for the complaint,
  • what impact the alleged contravention has had on the applicant, and
  • what outcomes the applicant is seeking from QCAT.

Concerning the purpose of the contentions, the tribunal said (para 8):

  • It is not uncommon for the complaint and remedies sought to change between the initial complaint to the Commission and referral to the tribunal.
  • Contentions enable the respondent to be informed of the particulars of the complaint and to consider whether to make an early challenge to the content.

In this case, although the factual basis of the complaint may be able to discerned from the complaint made to the Commission, in the tribunal the applicant is required to set out in her contentions (para 10).

  • the legal basis on which she alleges the respondent has discriminated against her at work;
  • the impact the alleged contraventions have had on her; and
  • the outcomes she is seeking from QCAT .

QCAT decisions are available from:

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