Practice Direction No 2 - Adjournment of proceedings
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 2 – Adjournment of Proceedings, dated 8 September 2011.
2. This Practice Direction does not apply to appeals under s 352 of the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 (the 1998 Act).
4. The purpose of this Practice Direction is to set out the Commission’s practice and procedure in relation to applications for adjournment of proceedings.
5. An adjournment means that the Commission (or the Registrar in respect of initiating telephone conferences) vacates the listing date to another date.
Timely resolution of Commission proceedings
6. It is in the interests of all parties that matters are heard and resolved as quickly as possible. This ensures that workers who have an entitlement under the workers compensation legislation are paid promptly, that costs are kept to a minimum, and that any inconvenience and uncertainty associated with the dispute is minimised.
7. The Commission will aim to proceed as scheduled in all matters. This means that all parties and their representatives must be ready to proceed at the time and place fixed by the Commission. The applicant for relief should be ready to proceed when the application is lodged, including being available for a telephone conference. A respondent should be ready to proceed at the time of lodgment of the reply to the application.
Guiding principles on adjournments
8. The Commission (or the Registrar in respect of initiating telephone conferences) will grant an adjournment where it is in the interests of justice.
9. In determining whether to grant an adjournment, the following matters will be considered:
(a) the need to provide a fair, cost effective and timely dispute resolution service;
(b) whether there are adequate reasons to justify an adjournment;
(c) whether a party is likely to suffer any prejudice, and
(d) whether an adjournment is fair in all the circumstances.
10. The following matters are not sufficient reasons for granting an adjournment:
(a) the consent of the parties to the adjournment;
(b) the convenience of the parties, including the unavailability of counsel or legal representatives, and
(c) the failure to properly prepare for the matter.
11. Parties cannot assume that an adjournment will be granted, even if the parties agree, unless the Commission has expressly advised that the proceedings will be adjourned.
12. An application for adjournment must be soundly based and made in accordance with this Practice Direction. An adjournment may be granted, other than in accordance with this Practice Direction, in the interests of procedural fairness.
Making an application for adjournment
13. Any application for adjournment must be made in writing to the Registrar as early as possible (and preferably five working days) prior to the fixed date for the telephone conference, mediation or hearing. Otherwise, the application may not be considered until the date of the listing for the matter to proceed.
14. An application for adjournment must set out in detail why the adjournment is sought and must be accompanied by documents in support, such as medical certificates indicating the nature of illness or other medical reason requiring adjournment.
15. A party proposing to make an application for adjournment must notify all other parties to the dispute and seek their consent to adjournment, prior to making the application. The written views of the other parties or advice that they failed to respond must accompany the application for adjournment.
16. In exceptional circumstances, a party may also make an adjournment application at the start of or during proceedings. Such an application must be made before the member with conduct of the matter and will be heard and determined at that time.
His Hon Judge Greg Keating