DISPUTES AND LITIGATION
The work of the Union in pursuit of its objects can be broadly classified into four broad categories:
- Governance and compliance activity;
- Pursuit of Social Justice;
- Member Representation; and
- Building union power and influence.
Although each type of work contributes to the strength of the Union, the pursuit of activities that build union power and influence have the maximum long term beneficial effects for the Union and its members. Building union power and influence also strengthens the Union’s ongoing work in defending and promoting quality tertiary education and the integrity and independence of our tertiary education institutions.
The pursuit of strategic litigation is an important mechanism for demonstration of union power, influence and relevance in the workplace.
While pursuing NTEU’s social justice objectives as determined by Union policy, meeting our governance and compliance obligations, and our obligations to represent individual members in difficulty, prioritise work that will build union power and influence in the workplace, the sector and the community, including dedicating resources to the pursuit of strategic litigation opportunities as a central element of co-ordinated plans to build union power.
NTEU has limited funds to spend on all its activities, including legal support for members.
- Members should not generally be referred to lawyers on industrial matters (ie any dispute with their employer) as clients. Where legal advice is needed on an industrial matter, NTEU will be the client, not the individual member (except in relation to referral for standard Workers Compensation matters).
- If a member seeks legal advice without a referral from NTEU, NTEU’s involvement in the case should cease.
- If a barrister is needed, counsel should be directly briefed rather than solicitors engaged wherever possible.
- Where Defence Fund sources are to fund a legal case, the matter must fulfil the requirements for expenditure from that fund.
Ensure appropriate procedures are maintained to reflect proper allocation of funding to disputes where legal support is required, including:
- Systems for authorisation and approval of expenses in accordance with Union policy;
- Consultation processes between the National Office and relevant Divisions and Branches prior to expenditure being incurred;
- Systems for smooth communication between NTEU and engaged lawyers; and
- Processes for ensuring costs are kept to a minimum.