Practice Directions 2023

01 March 2023

Efficient and cost effective

Today, the President of the South Australian Employment Tribunal, the Honourable Justice Steven Dolphin, has introduced new Practice Directions designed to improve the efficiency of proceedings and to ensure cost effectiveness.

Justice Dolphin said:

I have introduced a Practice Direction which will ensure that cases progress swiftly between the conciliation phase of the Tribunal to the hearing and determining of a case by a Presidential member. The referral of such cases, and all the necessary documentation, will now need to be completed within 14 days.

Noise induced hearing loss matters

A significant amount of the Tribunal’s resources are directed to cases that involve noise induced hearing loss (NIHL); whether that be a rejected injury, a rejected medical expense or a lump sum payment. In many of those cases the compensation sought is modest, for example the cost of a hearing aid. In many NIHL cases the amount of time, expense and use of Tribunal resources is disproportionate to the amount of compensation at stake.

Justice Dolphin said:

It is important to protect the resources of the Tribunal from abuse and to keep the costs to the parties involved in proceedings before the Tribunal to a minimum insofar as is just and appropriate. As such, generally, NIHL cases will be dealt with under the Fast Track Stream rules with proportionality between the amount of compensation sought, and the amount of Tribunal resources to be used, to be a consideration.

Further directions

SAET will streamline Work Health and Safety Act prosecutions so that where the amount that a magistrate can order will be exceeded, a judge hears and determines both the issues of guilt and of sentence.

The procedure regarding disclosure of surveillance material during conciliation has been clarified.

Representatives are now directed to give reasonable consideration as to whether a party needs to be represented by two practitioners in hearings that are merely procedural.

Justice Dolphin said:

The making of the new Practice Directions will ensure that the practices and procedures of the Tribunal are improved, by using high-quality processes to resolve cases quickly, with the minimum amount of formality and costs, so as to meet the legislative objectives. The new Practice Directions will be operative from 1 March 2023.

Wendy Wakefield


South Australian Employment Tribunal