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5.1 Contingent Assets and Liabilities

Quantifiable Contingencies

At the time signing these financial statements, the Commission had no quantifiable contingent liabilities.

Unquantifiable Contingencies

At the time of signing these financial statements the Commission:

  was a respondent to two judicial review applications in the Federal Court. While the Federal Court may award costs in such applications, any costs order is unlikely to be significant. In one proceeding, we consider a cost order to be unlikely as the application is in our view without merit and the proceeding is being defended by another Commonwealth agency. The Commission has filed a submitting appearance in that proceeding. In the second proceeding the Commission is in the process of assessing the merits of the claim but, assuming the claim is contested, any exposure to costs is unlikely to be significant including because the applicant is unrepresented.

  was a respondent to proceedings in the High Court in which the applicant is seeking a writ of certiorari to quash a decision of the Commission to terminate his complaint. While the High Court may award costs in such an application it is unlikely as the application is in our view without merit. The Attorney-General has been joined to the proceedings as a contradictor and the Commission has filed a submitting appearance.

In addition, an application for leave to appeal a decision of the Federal Court summarily dismissing judicial review proceedings against the Commission’s has been filed. The Attorney-General has been joined to the proceeding to act as a contradictor, and the Commission has filed a submitting appearance. Any costs order is unlikely as the appeal proceedings are in our view without merit.

A further three Federal Court appeals have been filed in relation to interlocutory orders made in the three related first instance proceedings. The first instance proceedings have been dismissed by the Court as an abuse of process, and the applicant requires leave of the Court in each case in order to appeal. The Commission is a respondent in two of the appeals. The Commission has made written submissions as to why leave should not be granted. A costs order is unlikely as the appeal proceedings are in our view without merit.

Accounting Policy

Contingent liabilities and contingent assets are not recognised in the statement of financial position but are reported in the notes. They may arise from uncertainty as to the existence of a liability or asset or represent an asset or liability in respect of which the amount cannot be reliably measured. Contingent assets are disclosed when settlement is probable but not virtually certain and contingent liabilities are disclosed when settlement is greater than remote.