Recent Cases

NSW Commissioner of Police v Cottle [2022] HCA 7 (16 March 2022) (Kiefel CJ, Gageler, Keane, Gordon and Steward JJ)


Industrial law (NSW) – Jurisdiction – Unfair dismissal – Industrial Relations Commission of New South Wales (“IR Commission”) – Where first respondent had been retired as non‑executive police officer by NSW Commissioner of Police (“Police Commissioner”) under s 72A of Police Act 1990 (NSW) on medical grounds – Where dismissal claimed by first respondent to be harsh, unreasonable or unjust under s 84 of Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW) (“IR Act”) – Where Pt 6 of Ch 2 of IR Act confers jurisdiction on IR Commission to review dismissal of “any public sector employee”, including any member of NSW Police Force – Where s 72A of Police Act does not expressly exclude or modify reach of Pt 6 of Ch 2 of IR Act – Where s 85 of Police Act states Police Commissioner is employer of non‑executive police officers for proceedings dealing with industrial matters – Whether Police Act excludes application of IR Act to decisions made under s 72A of Police Act – Whether IR Commission had jurisdiction to hear and determine application under s 84 of IR Act.

Words and phrases – “harsh, unreasonable or unjust”, “indication of parliamentary intent”, “Industrial Relations Commission”, “jurisdiction to hear and determine”, “non‑executive police officer”, “objective criteria”, “overlapping statutes”, “Police Commissioner”, “police officer”, “power to dismiss”, “public sector employee”, “retirement on medical grounds”, “statutory construction”, “unfair dismissal”, “unique functions of the NSW Police Force”.