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Step by step guide: Applying to the Federal Circuit Court
There are five steps to follow when you make a general protections claim in the Federal Circuit Court:
An application to the Federal Circuit Court must be made within 14 days of Fair Work Commission (the Commission) issuing a certificate saying that conciliation hasn't resolved your dispute.
If the Commission member who did your conciliation told you that you don't have a good case, or it doesn't have merit, or doesn't have 'reasonable prospects of success', or if they wrote this on your certificate, you should get urgent
legal advice before making a claim in the Federal Circuit Court.
You will need two forms:
You can get copies of the forms from the:
On 12 April 2013 the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia became the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. All forms have been changed to show the new name. The Federal Circuit Court will accept old forms up until 12 October 2013.
You can fill out the forms by hand using a blue or black pen (make sure it's neat). You can also fill them out online and then print them. When filling them out, you will need:
Once you have filled in all the information, you need to sign the form. If you have a lawyer or a union representative, they can sign the form for you.
Once you have completed the application and general protections claim form, you need to file them at a registry of the Federal Court. To find the registry closest to you, go to the
Federal Circuit Court website.
The filing fee is $74.90 (as at 1 July 2021). If you are experiencing financial hardship or you receive a Centrelink payment you may be able to get your fee reduced. For more information, go to the
Federal Circuit Court website - General Federal Law Fees.
You should file at least four copies of each including the originals. The court will keep the originals. One copy of each will need to be served on (given to) your employer. Another copy of each will need to be included in the Affidavit of Service (which is the proof the claim was served). You should keep the remaining copies for your records.
Serve means to give the claim and application to your employer. A general protections claim and application need to be served by hand (which is also called 'personal service'). If your employer is an individual, this means giving them the claim and application, or if they won't take them, putting the documents down in their presence and telling them what they are.
If your employer is a company, you can serve them by:
You can serve the claim and application, or you can get someone else to do it. There are professionals, called 'process servers' who can serve them for you. However, you will have to pay them.
This type of application and claim can be served anytime within 12 months from the date they are filed. It may be possible to serve the claim later, but only if the court gives you permission.
If you can't serve the application and claim (for example because you can't find your employer or because they are avoiding you) it is possible to apply to the court for 'substituted service'. Substituted service means that you can use another way to make sure your employer knows about the application and claim (for example email). You should get
legal advice if you are having trouble serving the claim and application.
If you served the application and claim, you will need to fill out a form called an 'Affidavit of Service'. The Affidavit of Service is evidence that you served the application and claim on your employer. This tells the court that the employer knows about the case. You can get a copy of the form from:
Instructions: Instructions for filling out an Affidavit of Service
Sample: Affidavit of Service
If you used a process server to serve the application and claim, make sure they give you an Affidavit of Service.
The response is a form filed by your employer and given to you. It says what parts of your claim your employer agrees with, what parts they disagree with, and why. If your employer also wants the court to make any other orders, they can ask for this in the response.
Sample: Employer's response
Your employer must file their response and serve it on (give it to) you within 14 days of getting your application and claim.
When you originally filed the claim, the court would have added a date and time for the 'first directions hearing' to the application. You can check this by looking at your copy of the application that was sealed (stamped) by the court. The first directions hearing is the first time the case is in court. Even if you haven't received a response from the employer, you should make sure you attend the first directions hearing.
For more information, see
For answers to commonly asked questions, see
Going to the Federal Circuit Court - Frequently Asked Questions.