KEY TAKE OUTS
Over the years we have seen many changes in the Personal Injury area of law from Courts to Tribunals to Commissions. It is now at the stage that the workers compensation scheme and the motor accident schemes will be under the same roof and called the “Personal Injury Commission”.
The Personal Injury Commission Bill, if passed into law will establish the Personal Injury Commission and will replace the Workers Compensation Commission (“WCC”) and takeover most of the decision-making jurisdiction for the Motor Accident Dispute Resolution Service (“DRS”). It will be a tribunal headed by a President rather than a Court headed by a Judge.
Although some functions will be shared there will be two separate divisions. A few key features of the Bill are:
- The President, Deputy President (only in workers compensation matters) and many other roles will have to be appointed by the Minister.
- There will also be mediators (only in workers compensation matters), medical assessors and merit reviewers which will be appointed by the President.
- There will be a nine-person rule committee which will be made up of a variety of persons to allow a cross section.
The Bill has a principle of facilitating the just, quick and cost-effective resolution of issues in proceedings. But the reality is that if you’re in the current WCC this means that the matter needs to be litigated as all attempts to resolve have failed so it would seem that this will remain the same at the new commission.
As in the WCC you will continue to be allowed to have legal representation and the current ILARS system will remain alive requiring lawyers to seek a grant of funding.
Unfortunately, the Motor Accident division does not allow lawyers to be paid for some matters. In our view, this is a denial of justice as all persons should be afforded the right to be represented and be able to seek recourse for such costs if the claim is successful. There are some matters that do allow costs, but it is significantly lower than that under the Workers compensation legislation.
The Bill if passed should come into force as at 1 December 2020.
ABOUT KARENA NICHOLLS:
Karena is a Partner at Coutts Lawyers & Conveyancers and is the Head of our Injury Compensation (with extensive knowledge in personal injury) and Employment Law teams. She is passionate and dedicated to helping her clients understand their rights and obligations and advising them on the best course of action to achieve their desired outcomes. It is her practical and client-orientated approach which has attributed to her authentic reputation positioning her as a highly regarded compensation and employment lawyer.
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This blog is merely general and non specific information on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal advice. Coutts is not responsible for any cost, expense, loss or liability whatsoever in relation to this blog, including all or any reliance on this blog or use or application of this blog by you.