The Commissioner had the power to grant assistance to an individual who was an actual or prospective party to certain proceedings. Those proceedings were where an individual claimed that a trade union had done, or was likely to do, an unlawful act, and an effect of that act was to prevent or delay the supply of goods and services, or to reduce the quality of goods and services supplied to that individual, because of industrial action unlawfully organised by a trade union. The Commissioner was independent and could not be directed by a Minister of the Crown to assist, or not to assist, any particular application. The role of the Commissioner was abolished in 1999.