Enforcing Commonwealth workplace laws is the means by which the ABCC provides an improved workplace relations framework for building work to ensure that building work is carried out fairly, efficiently and productively.

ABC Inspectors have standing to commence proceedings under the BCIIP Act and FW Act in relation to a building matter.

When we commence legal proceedings

When considering whether to commence legal proceedings, the ABC Commissioner considers both:

  • whether there are reasonable grounds to commence proceedings
  • whether it would be in the public interest to do so.

What constitutes reasonable grounds?

The Legal Services Directions require that the ABCC must not (except in urgent circumstances) commence a proceeding unless it has received written legal advice from an external legal provider indicating that there are reasonable grounds for starting the proceeding.

What constitutes ‘public interest’?

Factors which may arise in considering whether it is in the public interest to commence a proceeding include:

  • the nature and seriousness of the alleged contravention
  • the characteristics of the alleged wrongdoer (for example, their compliance history)
  • the level of industry or public concern in the nature of the alleged contravention
  • the impact of the alleged contravention on any person who was injured or otherwise adversely affected by the alleged contravention and other relevant persons
  • the likely impact of proceedings on general deterrence (i.e. reducing the likelihood that other building industry participants will commit similar contraventions or otherwise contravene building industry laws), and specific deterrence (i.e. reducing the likelihood that the alleged wrongdoer will commit further contraventions of such laws)
  • the likely outcome and impact of the case on the wrongdoer, any victim and the industry generally
  • other public interest considerations.

Our professional and ethical standards

The ABCC adopts the highest professional and ethical standards in the exercise of its functions and powers, including in litigation. The ABCC has an obligation to act as a model litigant (see Appendix B of the Legal Services Directions 2017).

Where can I review past legal cases?

The legal cases section of this website contains summaries of ABCC-initiated (and previously, FWBC and BIT-initiated) legal proceedings before the courts or the FWC.

Review the ABCC’s legal cases.