Last Updated 17 August 2021

Where the Federal Court or the Federal Circuit Court finds unlawful discrimination, a number of orders can be made under the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth) (AHRC Act) (s 46PO(4)(a)–(f)) such as an order:

  • declaring that the respondent has committed unlawful discrimination and directing the respondent not to repeat or continue such unlawful discrimination
  • requiring a respondent to perform any reasonable act or course of conduct to redress any loss or damage
  • requiring a respondent to employ or reemploy an applicant
  • requiring a respondent to pay an applicant damages by way of compensation for any loss or damage suffered because of the conduct of the respondent
  • requiring the respondent to vay the termination of a contract or agreement to redress any loss or damage suffered by an applicant
  • declaring that it would be inappropriate for further action to be taken in the matter.


The Federal Court or the Federal Circuit Court has the power to grant interim injunctions pending determination by the court (s 46PO(6) AHRC Act). It should be noted that any injunction granted cannot include an undertaking as to damages as a condition (s 46PO(8) AHRC Act).

The AHRC Act also provides that the court can grant an injunction at any time after a complaint has been lodged with the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC). The function of this is to allow the preservation of the status quo as it existed before the complaint was made whilst the inquiry and conciliation process is underway (s 46PP AHRC Act). The AHRC, a complainant, respondent or affected person can apply for an injunction. This injunction, however, cannot be granted after a complaint is withdrawn or terminated.