Women seek compensation over harassment

Paul Osborne


* An independent investigation instigated by the High Court found claims that six judges' associates were sexually harassed by former judge Dyson Heydon are believable

* Law firm Maurice Blackburn has been instructed to pursue compensation for three of the women against Mr Heydon

* The lawyers will be writing to Mr Heydon's lawyers inviting them to discussions about compensation

* If those talks do not go ahead, the matter will be taken to the Australian Human Rights Commission

* However, the AHRC will have to make a specific exception to allow the complaints to be heard, as they go back much longer than six months (with some going back 10 years)

* If the AHRC uses its discretion it can look at the claims and this could eventually open up the potential for matters to be taken to the Federal Court

* At the same time, the federal government has indicated it is willing to entertain negotiations in respect of claims for compensation, with meetings to be scheduled in the next few weeks

* Mr Heydon denies "any allegation of predatory behaviour or breaches of the law", but has apologised "if any conduct of his has caused offence".

(Sources: Maurice Blackburn; statement from Mr Heydon's lawyers)