1 min read

Right of entry permits must include middle names to be valid

The Case

Ramsay v Menso (2017)

Ms Menso was the sole director of a building company called Z Group Pty Ltd, which was undertaking building work in Queensland. Two Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) officials attended the Z Group Pty Ltd building site after they received pictures on Facebook that showed potential safety issues.

The CFMEU officials sought to enter the site to investigate the suspected safety contraventions. They tried to hand Ms Menso an entry notice. However, Ms Menso refused them entry. The CFMEU officials commenced legal action against Ms Menso for refusing entry.


It was agreed the CFMEU officials held Work Health and Safety (WHS) permits and had sought to enter the site to investigate suspected safety contraventions. However, the entry notice the CFMEU officials relied on to enter the site did not include their middle names.

The Federal Circuit Court held that the entry notice was not valid because it did not have the union officials’ full names on it and therefore they had no lawful right of entry. Save for this administrative error, the Court indicated that Ms Menso would have been penalised $18,500 for not allowing entry.

Lessons For You

Union officials have a right of entry where:

  • there is a reasonable suspicion of safety contraventions;
  • they hold the relevant WHS permits; and
  • they otherwise comply with the requirement to provide a valid right of entry notice.

However, this decision confirms that strict compliance with the legislation is required and hence entry notices will be invalid if the union officials’ full names are not included on the notice. It is likely that WHS permits will be similarly invalid if the permit-holder’s full name is not displayed.

Until a superior court overturns this decision, the law requires any union official with a middle name to include it on the right of entry notice.

Please note: Case law is reported as correct and current at time of publishing. Be aware that cases in lower courts may be appealed and decisions subsequently overturned.

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