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Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally



Appendix 7

Matters before courts and administrative tribunals

During the year the department was involved in the following matters before courts and administrative tribunals.

Courts

The department continued to assist an inquiry by the Coroner’s Court of Victoria into the death of an Australian overseas.

The department pursued costs awarded in the department’s favour in three matters and recovered costs in relation to one other matter.

The department was involved in a Federal Court action brought against the Commonwealth alleging that the Commonwealth was complicit in the maltreatment of an Australian overseas.

The Full Federal Court unanimously upheld a decision by the Minister for Foreign Affairs that the plaintiff’s presence in Australia was contrary to Australia’s foreign policy interests.

A Federal Court decision regarding the Minister’s decision to cancel a passport was remitted by consent to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a re-hearing.

The department continued to be involved in two employment actions in overseas courts brought by two former locally engaged staff members.

The department continued to defend an appeal with respect to an employment action brought in a foreign court by a former locally engaged staff member.

The department continued to defend an employment action brought in a foreign court by a former locally engaged staff member seeking reinstatement.

The department continued to oppose appeals with respect to employment actions brought in a foreign court by two former locally engaged staff members.

A plaintiff discontinued a High Court action against the department to recover costs in relation to previous litigation.

The department settled a workplace relations action brought against the Commonwealth in the Federal Magistrates Court.

The department settled an employment action brought in a foreign court by a former fixed-term local contractor.

The department continued to seek a settlement relating to an unfair dismissal action brought in a foreign court by a former locally engaged staff member.

The department settled an action brought by the department in a foreign court in relation to a locally engaged staff member’s employment.

The department settled an action brought in a foreign Court by a former attached agency locally engaged staff member relating to personal injury suffered in the course of employment.

The department continued to defend an employment action brought in a foreign court by a former household staff member of a departmental officer at an overseas post seeking reinstatement.

The department was involved (as a non-party) in an appeal by a former employee at an overseas post against the decision of the local labour inspector. The appeal was dismissed.

The department continued to defend claims for unfair dismissal brought by former employees following redundancies at an overseas post.

The department continued to defend an appeal by a claimant against the decision of a foreign court rejecting a claim against the department for alleged loss of a passport.

The Federal Court summarily dismissed action brought against the Commonwealth alleging that the Commonwealth refused to take action in regards to a number of crimes allegedly committed by Australians overseas.

The department continued to defend against property-related proceedings brought in a foreign court by the current owner of land formerly owned by the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth defended a defamation case brought in the Supreme Court of New South Wales relating, inter alia, to a communication made by a departmental officer.

The ACT Supreme Court made a finding against the department in relation to a rent review determination.

A foreign court dismissed on its own motion an action brought by a private individual against eight state-party defendants, including Australia, alleging the defendants had defamed Christianity.

The department continued to defend a claim involving the sale of a motor vehicle at an overseas post.

The department continued to be involved in proceedings for fraud against a former employee at an overseas post.

The department recovered costs arising out of an overseas accident-related litigation.

The department continued to be involved in a series of actions brought in another country for damages relating to alleged child abduction in Australia. The actions have been dismissed by the overseas courts but the applicant continues to seek a review of his appeal.

We continue to comply with discovery, subpoena and other document production obligations in a range of matters, including matters brought against the Commonwealth and other Australian Government agencies.

The department pursued costs awarded in the department’s favour in relation to the department’s compliance with a subpoena.

The department was regularly involved in the service of documents through the diplomatic channel relating to private litigation brought overseas and in Australia, and from time to time in the service of documents on foreign governments under the Foreign States Immunities Act 1985.

Administrative tribunals

The department continued to be involved in applications before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) concerning passports matters. During the year one application for review was dismissed and one application was upheld in the applicants favour. Three applications were withdrawn by the department, and five were withdrawn by the applicant. At the end of the financial year there were 11 active applications before the AAT for review of passport decisions. Eight applications were on hold or adjourned.

A small claim in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal against the department as Second Respondent was dismissed by consent.

The department was the respondent in five applications to the AAT in relation to decisions made under the Freedom of Information Act 1982. Three matters were dismissed and two were settled by consent.

A foreign tribunal dismissed an action brought against the department alleging breach of contract in relation to the relocation of an Australian mission overseas.

The department settled an employment action brought in a foreign tribunal by an attached agency locally engaged staff member.

A claim was made against the department to the Australian Human Rights Commission for discrimination and breach of the applicant’s human rights in relation to the handling of the claimant’s application for an Australian passport. The complaint was conciliated and is now closed.

A complaint was made against the department to the Australian Human Rights Commission. The complainant alleged that the department discriminated against him on the basis of his race. The complaint was discontinued by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

A complaint was made against the department to the Australian Human Rights Commission. The complainant alleged that the department discriminated against him on the basis of his disability. The complaint was discontinued by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

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