e-bulletin No. 85 May 2019
Update on changes to practice and procedure
In e-Bulletin No. 81, the Commission outlined changes to practice and procedure brought about by the Workers Compensation Legislation Amendment Act 2018.
As foreshadowed, the 2018 amendment Act allows a work capacity dispute to be referred for expedited assessment under Part 5 of Chapter 7 of the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998. Determination by the Commission is deferred when a work capacity dispute is referred for expedited assessment.
Parties should lodge the following application form depending on the nature of the dispute:
|Nature of dispute||Form Type|
|Work capacity decision only||Form 1|
|Work capacity decision, and past medical expenses less than $9,389.00||Form 1|
|Work capacity decision and any other liability or quantum of compensation||Form 2|
Form 1 applications are streamed to a Registrar’s delegate, under the expedited assessment process, with an initial teleconference 14 days after registration. Form 2 applications are streamed to an Arbitrator, for initial teleconference 28 days after registration.
The Commission triages dispute applications upon lodgment and will redirect applications to the appropriate stream if the incorrect form is completed.
The Commission undertook to review the procedures for dealing with work capacity disputes after an initial period of three months. Not surprisingly, work capacity disputes were few in number in the first quarter of 2019. Those disputes were resolved by the expedited assessment pathway. So far, there have been no adverse comments in relation to the practice of triaging work capacity disputes to the expedited assessment pathway.
Given the low number of dispute applications received, the Commission has decided to extend the review period to six months and will review its procedures at the end of June 2019.
Stakeholders are invited to raise any issues with respect to the procedures to resolve work capacity disputes, by email to the Registrar (Rodney.Parsons@wcc.nsw.gov.au).
Online Lodgment Portal
The Commission’s new online lodgment portal went live on 1 May 2019.
The new platform will provide significant benefits for users, including:
- 24/7 access to lodge and view applications from any device;
- Access to, and exchange of, information online;
- Electronic access to documents produced by third parties;
- Real time access to the progress of matters, including future allocations such as medical appointments and hearings;
- Opportunities for reduction in timeframes to resolve disputes;
- SMS technology for notification of proceedings ‘events’;
- Ability to brief counsel electronically.
The take-up by stakeholders has been strong and feedback has been positive.
It is the Commission’s intention to transition to full use of the online portal by year’s end. Users of the Commission’s services are therefore encouraged to register now to use the online portal. User guides and helpdesk support is available.
Follow the links on the Commission’s website to use the portal.
Judge Gerard Phillips