Practice Direction No 1 - Determination of matters ‘on the papers’
30 October 2018
1. This Practice Direction is issued pursuant to r 18.1 of the Workers Compensation Commission Rules 2011 and commences on 30 October 2018. It replaces Practice Direction No 1 – Determination of Matters “On the Papers” Without a Conciliation Conference or Arbitration Hearing or Hearing on Appeal Against a Decision of the Commission Constituted by an Arbitrator, dated 8 September 2011.
2. This Practice Direction applies to all applications heard by the Workers Compensation Commission.
3. The purpose of this Practice Direction is to set out the practice and procedure of the Commission when determining matters on the basis of the documents provided (‘on the papers’), in the absence of any conference or formal hearing.
Power to determine a matter ‘on the papers’
4. Section 354(6) of the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 (the 1998 Act) empowers Presidential members and Arbitrators to make decisions ‘on the papers’, without holding any conference or formal hearing. This will only occur where the Presidential member or Arbitrator, before whom the matter is listed, is satisfied sufficient information has been supplied to enable them to determine the matter ‘on the papers’ (s 354(6) of the 1998 Act).
Procedure for determination ‘on the papers’
5. The Presidential member or Arbitrator will decide whether or not the matter is suitable for determination ‘on the papers’.
6. The following factors will be considered when determining whether a matter should be determined ‘on the papers’:
(a) Have the parties addressed all the relevant issues in their submissions?
(b) Does the evidence deal appropriately with all issues in dispute?
(c) Are further submissions required?
(d) Has one or have both parties requested a decision ‘on the papers’?
(e) Are there any objections to a determination ‘on the papers’?
(f) Are there questions as to the credit of a party or witness?
(g) What is the degree of complexity of the legal and/or factual issues in dispute?
(h) Do the matters in dispute concern only questions of law?
(i) Is one of the parties self-represented and/or by reason of cultural or linguistic background, or for any other reason, prevented from presenting a logical argument in writing?
(j) Does one of the parties lack an understanding of the Commission’s functions and role?
(k) In all the circumstances, is it appropriate to determine the particular matter ‘on the papers’?
7. It is the responsibility of the parties to ensure that the Commission is informed in writing of the issues in dispute. It is also the responsibility of the parties to ensure that any objection to a determination ‘on the papers’ is clearly stated and supported by specific and cogent reasons.
8. If the matter proceeds to determination ‘on the papers’, the matter will be determined as soon as practicable. If the matter does not proceed ‘on the papers’, the matter will be listed for conference or formal hearing before it is determined.
His Hon Judge Keating