Most appeals are filed in Melbourne or Sydney. Five consecutive days in each month are allocated for hearing appeals in these capital cities.
The composition of Appeal Benches is based on an appeal roster.
The appeal roster is set annually by the President, after consultation with Members to determine their availability to sit on appeals in each roster period.
The appeal roster is set based on the number of appeals expected to be lodged throughout the year. It is designed to make sure that a sufficient mix of Members is available to hear and determine appeals in a timely manner.
Members are assigned to the roster taking into account a number of factors, including their:
The composition of Appeal Benches is generally determined by the following factors:
To reduce spending of public money, Appeal Benches are generally made up of local Members. So, if an appeal is lodged in Sydney then Members based in Sydney will usually make up most of the Members on the Appeal Bench. This saves travelling time and reduces cost.
Fewer appeals are lodged in Brisbane and Perth (and even fewer in Adelaide, Canberra and Hobart). Members based in those cities hear fewer appeals because of the small number of appeals lodged in those locations, and the fact that a Member cannot sit on an appeal against a decision they issued.
If an appeal raises a jurisdictional issue or a legal question involving the interpretation of the Fair Work Act 2009, then a legally qualified Member, or an experienced senior Member, will be assigned to the Appeal Bench.
If an appeal raises a matter of special significance then the President or one of the Vice Presidents will usually preside.
The number of appeals allocated to Members varies due to several factors, including: