An Overview of Criminal Law in Queensland

Queensland, Australia, has a robust legal framework governing criminal offenses. Understanding the principles and provisions of Queensland’s criminal law is essential for both legal professionals and the general public. Let’s delve into the key aspects:

1. The Criminal Code Act 1899

The cornerstone of Queensland’s criminal law is the Criminal Code Act 1899. Enacted during the colonial era, this legislation establishes a comprehensive Code of Criminal Law. Here are some important points:

  • Short Title: The Act is commonly referred to as the Criminal Code Act 1899.
  • Code Establishment: As of January 1, 1901, the provisions outlined in the Code of Criminal Law (found in Schedule 1) became the law of Queensland concerning various criminal matters.
  • Saving Provisions: Despite repealing certain statutes, the Act ensures that existing legal rights, obligations, and proceedings remain unaffected. It also allows for the continuation of ongoing legal actions initiated before the Code’s implementation.

2. Interpretation and Principles

The Act provides definitions, principles, and rules that guide criminal proceedings. Some key concepts include:

  • Offences: The Act defines various offenses, categorizes them, and addresses attempts to commit offenses.
  • Arrest Without Warrant: It outlines circumstances under which law enforcement officers can make arrests without a warrant.
  • Parties to Offenses: The Act clarifies the roles of different parties involved in criminal acts.

3. Criminal Court Process

Understanding the court process is crucial for anyone facing criminal charges. Here’s a brief overview:

  • Magistrates Court: This court handles less serious offenses. Defendants attend hearings, and legal representation is essential.
  • District and Supreme Courts: These courts deal with more serious cases. Defendants must attend court proceedings, and legal representation is crucial.

4. Resources and Expertise

For comprehensive information on Queensland’s criminal law, consider resources like:

Navigating Unfair Dismissal and General Protections Claims

Applying for General Protections and Unfair Dismissal with the Fair Work Commission

If you feel you have been dismissed from your job unfairly or have had an issue with discrimination, coercion or misrepresentation in your workplace, you may be able to make a general protections or unfair dismissal claim to the Fair Work Commission under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). Here’s an overview of how the process works:

General Protections Claims

General protections claims deal with workplace issues around discrimination, coercion, misrepresentation, sham contracting, pay and conditions. To make general protections claim, you first need to fill out a Form F8 Application for orders dealing with general protections and file it with the Fair Work Commission. This form allows you to provide details about your claim and what orders you are seeking, such as compensation or reinstatement.

The application must be lodged within 21 days of when you were dismissed or from when the event occurred. Once submitted, the Fair Work Commission will forward the Form 8 to the Respondent for their review. The Respondent will complete a Form 8a Response which will be provided to you for your review. The Fair Work Commission will also assess the application and set a date for conciliation of the dispute first through mediation with the intention to negotiate an outcome. If conciliation is unsuccessful, the matter may proceed to a formal hearing. At the hearing, you will need to provide evidence to support your claim. If successful, the Fair Work Commission can make orders such as compensation for loss of income or reinstatement of employment.

It is very important to remember that you don’t need to represent yourself. An experienced Employment Law Specialist will be able to quickly prepare your Form 8 Application and will also be able to provide a quick and effective review of the Form 8a from the Respondent in preparation for your conciliation. You need to be clear, concise and truthful when providing your evidence to your lawyer, this will be placed into a timeline of events outlining any breaches by the Respondent and relevant legislation. Getting all this work done early is important so that if terms are not negotiated at conciliation most of the prep work will have been done making the application for a Court hearing more straightforward. Of course, settling out of court is going to be the most cost effective and these negotiations can take place at anytime outside of the Fair Work Commissions process.

Unfair Dismissal Claims 

If you feel you have been unfairly dismissed from your job, you can lodge an unfair dismissal claim with the Fair Work Commission. To do this, you need to fill out a Form F2 – Application for unfair dismissal remedy and submit it within 21 days of your dismissal taking effect.

In the application, you will need to explain why you feel your dismissal was harsh, unjust or unreasonable. Key things to outline are the circumstances of your dismissal, reasons given by your employer, why you feel it was unfair, and any evidence you have to support your claims. The Fair Work Commission will assess whether you meet eligibility requirements for an unfair dismissal claim.

If accepted, like general protection claims the matter will first go to conciliation where resolution will be attempted through mediation or a conference between you and your former employer. If it remains unresolved, a formal hearing will take place where you can present your evidence and arguments. The Commission will then make a determination as to whether reinstatement or compensation is warranted.  

The process for general protections and unfair dismissal claims through the Fair Work Commission can be complex, so it may be advisable to seek assistance from an employment lawyer or your union. Providing clear details on the application forms and gathering evidence to support your case will help strengthen your claims. Remember to be realistic with regards to compensation. Unfair dismissal claims have a ceiling on claims being the lower of these 2 amounts: the amount the employee would normally have received from the employer in the six months before the dismissal or $83,750 (50% of the high income threshold). General protections claims do not have a ceiling or cap, however it is important to be realistic and prepared for negotiations.

For advice regarding your employment law dispute please contact us at North law for a free 15-minute consultation. We can give you the support you need throughout what can be a difficult process.

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General Protections Claims Process Chart

Conveyancing Key Ingredients

Are you looking to navigate the complex world of real estate transactions in Brisbane? Look no further! Our team of conveyancing experts in Brisbane and Mackay are here to provide you with top-notch property law services, legal advice for property buyers/sellers, title transfers, and settlement services.

Conveyancing Brisbane:
Conveyancing is a crucial aspect of any real estate transaction. Our team specializes in conveyancing services in Brisbane and all of Queensland with a second location in Mackay ensuring a smooth and hassle-free process for our clients. Whether you are buying or selling a property, our experts are here to guide you every step of the way.

Property Law Services:
Navigating property law can be daunting, even more so if you are a buyer in today’s market, but with our experienced team on your side, you can rest assured that your legal needs are in good hands. We offer a wide range of property law services tailored to meet your specific requirements, ensuring compliance with all legal regulations and requirements. Our indicative fees are there for you to see, all you need to do now if book an appointment and we can get things tracking towards settlement. 

Real Estate Transactions:
Real estate transactions can be complex, but with our expertise in the field, we make the process seamless for our clients. From contract review to negotiation and finalisation, our team is dedicated to ensuring a successful transaction for all parties involved.

Legal Advice for Property Buyers/Sellers:
Buying or selling a property can be a significant financial decision. Our team provides expert legal advice to property buyers and sellers, helping them make informed decisions and protect their interests throughout the transaction process. Buying a property in Queensland or any jurisdiction can be considered more risky than selling because the seller is not required to disclose everything, it is up to the buyer to do the necessary due diligence. There are a number of risk factors such as potential issues with the property title, encumbrances, zoning regulations, hidden defects, and potential legal disputes or even undisclosed disputes between neighbours. It is essential to conduct thorough due diligence, seek legal advice, and work with experienced professionals to mitigate these risks and ensure a smooth property transaction process. Having a conveyancing legal expert make sure you undertake the right searches and draft special conditions in your contract will make the process of buying or selling a property a positively memorable experience. If corners are cut then risks increase.

Title Transfers:
Title transfers are a crucial part of any property transaction. Our conveyancing experts in Brisbane and Mackay handle title transfers efficiently and accurately, ensuring that the transfer of ownership is completed smoothly and in compliance with all legal requirements. We utilise PEXA which is a fully online conveyancing system so that everything is located in one place and this links seamlessly with Queensland Titles.

Settlement Services:
Our settlement services are designed to streamline the final stages of a real estate transaction. From coordinating with all parties involved to ensuring that all necessary documents are in order, our team is committed to ensuring a successful settlement for our clients.

At North Law, we take pride in being your trusted partner for all your conveyancing needs in Brisbane and throughout all of Queensland. Contact us today on 07 3266 2585 to learn more about how our conveyancing experts can assist you with your property transactions.


What Really Is Work Health & Safety Law & What Will Your Company Do About It?

Brisbane, the bustling capital of Queensland, is a hub for numerous industries. These range from public sector, retail, construction, to large-scale manufacturing. Such diversity indeed necessitates stringent Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws. Yet, it’s crucial to remember that these laws aren’t just about compliance. Rather, they’re about ensuring a safe and healthy working environment for all.

Employers’ Duties
As an employer in Brisbane, you have a pivotal part to play. With the WHS laws, you’re obliged to ensure the health and safety of your workforce. This duty extends to all aspects of the workplace. From the physical environment to the mental well-being of your employees, everything counts.

Ensuring Safety Primarily, employers must provide a safe work environment. This includes proper equipment, safe systems of work, and adequate facilities. Moreover, employers must manage any risks to health and safety. This could mean implementing measures to control hazards, or providing comprehensive training to employees.

Monitoring Health
Employers are also expected to monitor the health of their workers. Regular health check-ups, stress management programs, and supportive policies are all part of this duty. Ultimately, it’s about ensuring that work doesn’t adversely affect employees’ health and welfare.

Employees’ Duties
Employees, on the other hand, also have responsibilities under the WHS laws in Queensland. These duties aim to promote individual accountability and foster a proactive safety culture.

Firstly, employees must comply with any reasonable instruction given by their employer. This ensures that safety measures implemented by the employer are carried out effectively.

Cooperation Moreover, employees are expected to cooperate with any policy or procedure relating to health and safety at the workplace. Whether it’s wearing protective equipment, or following safety protocols, cooperation is key.

In Brisbane, consultation is seen as a cornerstone of the WHS laws. Both employers and employees must participate in regular discussions about health and safety matters.

The Importance of Consultation Consultation allows for the sharing of information, the giving and receiving of advice, and the contributing of valuable ideas. In essence, it encourages everyone to take part in managing risks and improving safety at the workplace.

Health and Welfare
The WHS laws in Queensland also focus on the health and welfare of workers. It’s about creating a workplace where employees can thrive, both physically and mentally.

Mental Health This includes addressing mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, or depression. Employers must provide support structures, promote a healthy work-life balance, and foster a positive working environment.

Physical Health & Fitness for Work
Physical health, too, is a key consideration. Employers must ensure that work-related injuries or illnesses are prevented. This could involve ergonomic assessments, regular breaks, or fitness programs. Employers must reduce the risk that alcohol and drugs bring to the workplace, this can be where WHS Law and Employment / IR Law crossover. Needless to say, it is paramount to reduce the impacts of these 2 ingredients on any work site. Fatigue is another huge killer, implementing a fatigue management program and training to recognise the effects could save lives.

Fines and Penalties Non-compliance with WHS laws in Queensland can be costly. Fines and penalties serve as a deterrent to ensure that employers and employees uphold their duties.

Fines Fines for breaches vary depending on the severity of the breach. These could range from minor penalties for non-serious breaches, to hefty fines for serious offenses.

Industrial Manslaughter In Queensland, the WHS laws also include a provision for industrial manslaughter. This involves a fatality at the workplace due to the employer’s negligence. If found guilty, an employer could face serious penalties including a large fine or imprisonment.

In Queensland, Brisbane, and everywhere across this State Work Health and Safety laws are comprehensive and need to be industry focused, focusing on both employers’ and employees’ duties, consultation, health and welfare, and including hefty fines and penalties for non-compliance. These laws are essential in ensuring that Brisbane continues to be a safe and healthy place to work.