A research project was commissioned by the Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP) to improve the understanding of tailgate strata mechanics and to provide a more rigorous engineering basis for tailgate support design. A deformation mechanism termed ‘skew roof’ was defined which relates the regional influence of differential horizontal strata movement (shear) about longwall extraction to gateroads. Confirmation of the mechanism was achieved by field investigations which included measurement of the shear displacement along weak interfaces. Under geological and mining conditions where the skew roof mechanism operated, strata units were found to move progressively further towards the goaf with height into the roof. 3D numerical modelling was used to assess the major geotechnical factors controlling the mechanism and to determine appropriate support strategies within a ‘skew roof’ environment including the role of cables versus standing supports. The skew mechanism is considered relevant to; all roadways in the vicinity of longwall extraction including the faceline itself, chain pillar design, and support design.