News + Views

Fair Work Commission Reflection

Georgia McRae reflects on a week-long placement at the Fair Work Commission

Georgia McRae - on left

My week at the Fair Work Commission was both eye opening and informative. Given my academic interest in employment law, this placement was a highlight of my legal studies to date. It exposed me to various areas of the Commission, ranging from registry to Chambers.

I was fortunate enough to meet Commissioners, their Associates, lawyers working on Enterprise Agreements and Modern Awards, and staff at registry. This provided me with a truly holistic and colourful experience.

I observed hearings throughout the week from the vantage point of the Associate’s bench. This was a real novelty, as I’ve only ever watched legal proceedings from public galleries. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the interaction between legal representatives and unrepresented litigants. It was a privilege to observe advocates in action, which was an opportunity to reflect on how I can build upon my own advocacy skills. It was also heartening to see how the Commission instilled fairness in proceedings where parties lacked legal representation.

My experience didn’t just focus on the law, but allowed me to gain a better understanding of policy and the mechanisms that affect legal change. The well-rounded nature of the placement gave me a taste of practice and allowed me to realise the immense career opportunities available to me.

There are the wide-ranging benefits of a career at the Commission. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting people from all corners of the tribunal to hear about their work, the law and their thoughts on the sector. I finished my placement with an enormous amount of enthusiasm and motivation to continue working towards a career in employment law.

Georgia McRae, JD student
April 2017