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FactsEdit

An investigation of sexual harassment allegations at the Dairy Producers' Co-operative concluded that there were probable grounds for the complaints and the Co-operative was provided with details of the allegations. The parties then commenced settlement negotiations. After those negotiations failed the Commission appointed a Board of Inquiry. The Co-operative applied to quash the appointment of the Board on the ground that the Commission refused to disclose the details of the case against the employer.

IssueEdit

  1. What duty, if any, does the Commission owe the Co-operative to provide particulars of evidence gathered by the Commission's investigator?

DecisionEdit

Application dismissed.

ReasonsEdit

Wright held that the Commission, playing a merely investigative role, was not obliged to comply with the formal rules of natural justice. The duty of fairness owed was merely to "inform an interested party of the substance of the case against [them]". The investigator and the Commission acted appropriately throughout. There was no breach of procedural fairness.

RatioEdit

  • Investigators merely have a duty to inform an interested party of the substance of the case against them.
  • A power to investigate and/or make recommendations does not attract procedural fairness.
  • An interim administrative decision maker which has the power to affect the rights of a person borders determinative powers and may attract procedural fairness.

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