Practice Direction No 4 - Correction of “obvious error”
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 4 – Correction of “Obvious Error” in a Certificate of Determination and a Medical Assessment Certificate, dated 8 September 2011.
2. This Practice Direction applies to the following: Certificates of Determination, Medical Assessment Certificates, decisions of a Medical Appeal Panel and decisions of the Registrar. It does not apply to appeals under s 352 of the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 (the 1998 Act).
3. This Practice Direction should be read in conjunction with any relevant and applicable workers compensation guidelines issued by the Commission or State Insurance Regulatory Authority.
4. The purpose of this Practice Direction is to set out the practice and procedure of the Commission in relation to applications to correct “obvious errors”.
Power to correct an “obvious error”
5. Section 294(3) of the 1998 Act provides that the Registrar may issue (or approve of an Arbitrator issuing) a replacement Certificate of Determination or statement of reasons, if the Registrar is satisfied that a determination or a statement of reasons attached to the certificate contains an “obvious error”.
6. Section 325(3) of the 1998 Act provides that the Registrar may issue (or approve of an Approved Medical Specialist issuing) a replacement Medical Assessment Certificate, if the Registrar is satisfied that a Medical Assessment Certificate contains an “obvious error”.
7. Section 378(2) of the 1998 Act provides that the Registrar may alter the text of a decision of the Registrar or a decision of a Medical Appeal Panel to correct an error, if the Registrar is satisfied that there is an “obvious error” in the text of the decision.
8. Section 378(3) of the 1998 Act provides that a Medical Appeal Panel may correct an “obvious error” in its decision or any Medical Assessment Certificate it has issued and, if necessary, issue a replacement Medical Assessment Certificate.
Meaning of “obvious error”
10. An “obvious error” may include:
(a) the incorrect description of a party to proceedings;
(b) the incorrect date in an award for compensation;
(c) a clerical or typographical error in a decision or reasons;
(d) an error arising from an inadvertent slip or omission;
(e) a defect in form, and
(f) an inconsistency between the orders and the reasons for decision.
Who can make an application to correct an “obvious error”
11. Any party to proceedings can make an application to correct an “obvious error”.
12. An Arbitrator, Approved Medical Specialist, Medical Appeal Panel, Presidential member and the Registrar can correct an “obvious error” on their own motion.
Procedure to correct an “obvious error”
13. An application to correct an “obvious error” should be made in writing to the Registrar, and served on all parties to the proceedings, as soon as practicable. In appropriate circumstances, a party may make an oral application to correct an “obvious error” during Commission proceedings before the presiding member.
14. Each application to correct an “obvious error” will be considered on its merits, having regard to the context of the document sought to be corrected and any accompanying reasons. The Commission may seek submissions from all the parties prior to exercising the discretion to correct an “obvious error”.
15. If a decision or certificate contains an obvious error, a replacement document may be issued to the parties.
16. An amendment to a document to correct an “obvious error” does not amend the date the original document was issued or decision was made, unless precisely stated.
His Hon Judge Greg Keating