If you apply to recover unpaid wages and entitlements to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia using the small claims procedure, the Judge may want to hear your case on the first court date.
What is a hearing?
A hearing is where you and your employer each present your side of the story to the Judge and ask them to decide your case.
A hearing is the next step if you and your employer can't come to an agreement at mediation. A hearing date will be set on a different day, usually several months after the mediation has taken place.
At a directions hearing, the Judge may ask if you and your employer want to have your case 'heard on the papers'. This means that the Judge can decide your case based on all the evidence and other documents that are filed, without the need to attend a hearing.
You should get legal advice about whether your case could, or should, be heard on the papers, before you go to court.
At a hearing, you will be given a chance to present your evidence, including any witnesses. Your employer will also have a chance to present their evidence. After this, a Judge will decide your case and make orders. The orders could include that:
your employer pay you the wages and entitlements you are owed
your employer pay a fine (penalty)
you get paid some of your legal costs
your case be dismissed.
Preparing for the hearing
Before the hearing you should start preparing your case. The Judge at the directions hearing will have made orders telling you:
the date of the hearing
what you must do before the hearing, for example, file witness statements or affidavits by a certain date.
Step by step guide: Preparing for the hearing
Presenting your case at the hearing
Before you go to the hearing, you need to understand how a hearing works and plan how you are going to present your case.
Step by step guide: Presenting your case at the hearing
After you and your employer have presented your evidence, the Judge will decide your case. The decision may be made straight away, or reserved (postponed) to another day.
For more information, see