Costs in test case

A successful complainant applied for costs, arguing the claim had been in the nature of a test case and that there was significant public interest in resolving the question of reasonableness of Queensland Health's rostering requirements that had impacted on her as a nurse who was unable to work evenings because of a medical condition.

The tribunal said the issue was whether the interests of justice require the tribunal to depart from the public policy position in the QCAT Act that parties bear their own costs.

The tribunal did not accept that it had been a test case and the issues that were decided applied only to that case. The tribunal also said that granting the parties leave to be legally represented because of complex questions of law or fact did not predicate the making of a costs order at the end of the case.

Chivers v State of Queensland (No. 2) [2012] QCAT 437

Compare this to the decision of the Court of Appeal which, in ordering the payment of costs in the Appeal Tribunal of QCAT, was satisfied that the involvement of complex questions of law of was sufficient ground for departing from the usual rule that parties to proceedings in QCAT bear their own costs.

Dovedeen Pty Ltd & Anor v GK [2013] QCA 194

(Source: QHRC annual report 2012-13)