The powers of the Fair Work Commission are different to the powers of the courts. The Commission is a tribunal and does not have the power to enforce the orders that it can make under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the Fair Work Act).
The enforcement role is performed by either the Federal Court or the Federal Circuit Court. The powers of the courts (including powers to grant injunctions and make declarations) are not limited by any term of the Fair Work Act.
If a person does not comply with a Commission order, a person affected may seek enforcement of the Commission's order through civil remedy proceedings in the courts.
Typically applications of this kind are made to the Federal Circuit Court.
The Fair Work Act provides a table in s.539 which details who may make an application to the court for the various civil remedy provisions. Provisions relating to industrial action are set out in Items 14–24.
Failure to comply with an order may result in the court imposing a pecuniary penalty or making other orders.
See Fair Work Act ss.545, 546 and 570
The types of orders the courts may generally make in respect of a contravention or proposed contravention of a civil remedy provision include the following:
Orders awarding compensation for loss are not available under the Fair Work Act in relation to contraventions of stop orders made under s.418, s.419 or s.420 (see s.421(4)).
Orders awarding compensation for loss are available under s.417.
The courts may, on application, order a person to pay a pecuniary penalty considered appropriate if satisfied that the person has contravened a civil remedy provision.
The pecuniary penalty for an individual must not be more than the maximum penalty for the relevant contravention set out in s.539 of the Fair Work Act.
In the case of a body corporate, the maximum penalty is 5 times the maximum for an individual.
A penalty unit is used to define the amount payable for pecuniary penalties.
The maximum number of penalty units for contravening s.421 of the Fair Work Act (which prohibits a person contravening an order stopping industrial action) is 60 penalty units.
From 1 July 2017 a penalty unit was $210.
The court may order that the pecuniary penalty, or a part of the penalty, be paid to:
Costs orders by the courts
A party to proceedings (including an appeal) in a court in relation to a matter arising under the Fair Work Act may be ordered to pay costs incurred by another party to the proceedings.
The party may be ordered to pay the costs only if the court is satisfied that:
 Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) s.4AA.