- The Minister wanted to allow shops in Adelaide to open on Sundays.
- The Act stated that shops could not open on Sundays, but that the Minister could give out exemption certificates to allow certain shops to trade, under certain circumstances.
- The Minister essentially planned to use these certificates of exemption to allow all shops in the area of Adelaide to trade on Sundays.
- The SDA, an association of retail assistants, appealed, stating that the Act did not allow the Minister to do this.
- The Minister objected, stating that the SDA did not have standing to challenge the decision, and, they had the power.
- At first instance, the Minister succeeded. The SDA then appealed.
- Did the union have standing to challenge the Minister’s decision?
- Was the Minister permitted to use the exemption certificates in this way?
- In a unanimous decision, the Court held that the SDA had standing.
- They stated that it was clear an association of shopkeepers, retail assistants etc had a “special interest” beyond that of the general public, due to the decision’s impact on their employment, including when they were required to work and for how many hours.
- They were also specially mentioned in the Act which further demonstrated this.
- This decision is significant as it shows that, in general, unions will have standing on issues that affect their members.
- Once it was accepted that the union had standing, the Court considered the statute and held that it did not authorise the Minister to use the exemption certificates as suggested.
- Therefore, the SDA’s appeal succeeded on all grounds.
- “It is clear to our minds that the shop assistants employed in the Central Shopping District have an interest in the trading hours of the shops in which they are employed which is different from and greater than that of other members of the public. Obviously no shop assistant is uniquely affected by a change in shopping hours, but it is sufficient if those concerned have a special interest as a particular class” 
- “The special interest which shop assistants employed in the Central Shopping District have in the trading hours of the shops in which they are employed is because any alteration in those hours necessarily affects the terms and conditions of their employment.” 
- The full text is available at https://jade.io/article/67877
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