WorkPac Pty Ltd v Rossato [2021] HCA 23

Interpretation and characterisation go hand-in-hand in legal work.  It is one thing to say what a statutory term means, but quite another to determine whether something meets that description.

If R had a ‘reasonable expectation of continuing employment’11, he could request a change from casual to permanent status.  But he needed to show some ‘firm advance commitment’ in this regard.  This required characterisation of his contract on the basis of legal obligations created12, rather than ‘[s]ome amorphous, innominate hope or expectation’.  R could show no legally enforceable right here and he therefore remained a casual employee.

This principle is from Episode 76 of interpretation NOW!


11 s 65(2) of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

12 Burswood [2021] FCAFC 151 (at [93]) is another recent example.