Do I need a lawyer? Do I have to pay?

The review process in the Public Service Act is designed so employees do not need a lawyer.  

There is a legislative and policy requirement to encourage productive and harmonious working environments in which:

  • employees' concerns are dealt with quickly, impartially and fairly
  • review processes are consistent with alternative dispute resolution methods (Regulation 5.1).

As an applicant you are encouraged to explain in your own words what has happened and your concerns.

If you want to be represented in the review, you must write to the Merit Protection Commissioner to obtain her agreement (Regulation 5.33(2)). Only in rare circumstances does the Merit Protection Commissioner agree to an applicant being represented.

If you choose to consult with, or engage, a lawyer you will be responsible for the lawyer's costs.

The Merit Protection Commissioner does not charge agencies or employees to conduct a review. Review by the Merit Protection Commissioner is a statutory right under the Public Service Act:

  • APS Employment Principle – the APS makes fair employment decisions with a fair system of review (section 10A)
  • reviews of actions – an APS employee is entitled to review … of an APS action that relates to his or her employment – section 33
  • Public Service Regulations 1999 – Employee complaint about an action or decision relating to employment – review of actions Part 5.