Today the High Court delivered its decision on Regional Express’ (Rex) appeal against a full Federal Court decision, which in turn upheld a decision of the Federal Circuit Court. The High Court found that the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) is entitled to represent the industrial interests of pilots who fall within the AFAP’s eligibility rules, without having to name the individual pilots.
In a unanimous decision, the High Court found for the AFAP, and dismissed Rex’s appeal.
Essentially, the High Court found that a union is able to pursue certain contraventions in its own right without needing to identify individual members, as long as it can be established that the contravention affected a person who is eligible to become a member. This will be particularly useful for classes of vulnerable groups of workers who might not wish to be personally named.
Now that Rex’s appeal has been dismissed, the matter will return to the Federal Circuit Court. Whether Rex has taken adverse action against its pilots will be fully argued and determined.
This is the first time the AFAP has been involved in a full High Court hearing in its history as a registered organisation (since 1938). The AFAP is very pleased with the approach taken by the High Court and that its arguments were accepted. The decision provides clarity in relation to the standing provisions in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).
AFAP Legal Team James Lauchland, David Kelly and Andrew Molnar with AFAP Barristers Jenny Firkin and Jessica Swanwick
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The AFAP is the largest industrial and professional association representing Australian commercial air pilots.
Please direct media enquiries to:
Simon Lutton, AFAP Executive Director
M 0419 482 582 E firstname.lastname@example.org