In focus

Mock hearings of unfair dismissal matters have now been staged by the Commission for two years and have been a successful means of engaging with the community. They provide a snapshot of what happens during a hearing, and have been very popular: there has been a full house for every event and views of the YouTube videos continue to climb.

The mock hearings are a great opportunity for the public to look behind the scenes of a Commission hearing. By focusing on unfair dismissals, which are the prime area of the Commission’s work for self-represented parties, the hearings have become a valuable learning tool and continue to be a widely attended event.

What happens during the mock hearings?

Members of the Commission preside over the mock hearings. They hear the merits of the case and carry out the roles they would play in a real hearing.

There is a question and answer session at the conclusion of the hearings in which the audience can ask questions of the presiding Member. Advocates also answer questions about the way they conducted their case and how it might have been run differently.

Who participates in the mock hearings?

Advocates in the mock hearings are all skilled practitioners who volunteer to participate. The actors in the proceedings are Commission staff who also volunteer their time, and prepare for their role accordingly. These two factors ensure the proceedings are as true to life as possible.

The Commission has been privileged to have the involvement of some highly skilled and recognised practitioners and barristers who have enhanced the learning opportunities for the audience.

About the mock hearings

The mock hearings have been widely attended, attracting:

  • members of the public
  • law students
  • workplace relations practitioners, and
  • others with an interest in workplace relations.

The mock hearing series began in 2013 with events staged for Law Week in Melbourne. Based on the exceptional attendance and positive feedback, the program of mock hearings was expanded in 2014, with mock hearings conducted in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra and Hobart as part of the second phase of the Future Directions change program.