What you can expect from our complaints process

The Human Rights Commission is an independent agency which will act in an impartial matter in dealing with complaints.

Considering a complaint

Our Guide to Consideration discusses our process in greater detail. Generally speaking, the purpose of the Human Rights Commission’s consideration process is to gather the necessary information in order to find out whether or not the Discrimination Act 1991 may have been breached.  Not all alleged treatment is necessarily covered by the Act, and there may be different views about what happened and why. Consideration involves the exchange of written information between the person making the complaint, the person or organisation that the complaint is against, any witnesses, and the Commission.

There are three possible decisions that the Commission can make in the consideration processes. These are –

  • to close the complaint, that is to take no further action on the complaint; or
  • to attempt to resolve the complaint by conciliation; or
  • to decide that resolution of the complaint by conciliation is unlikely to be successful.

If the Commission has closed a complaint it will advise of the complainant’s right to a hearing before the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT).


As part of dealing with a complaint, the Commission may suggest the parties attempt conciliation. More information on this process is available in our Guide to Conciliation. The Commission’s decision to concilate a complaint means that while the complaint has not been proven, the Commission is satisfied that the complaint is appropriate for conciliation and is likely to be successfully conciliated. Concilation is an opportunity for the people involved in a complaint to sit down and talk about the issues and to resolve the complaint privately and by agreement.

The Commission has collated de-identified outcomes of our concilation process in a variety of protected attributes, to give a sense of the sorts of outcomes that are possible. These are available from our Conciliation Outcomes page.