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Law Talk - Drsl Reviews/appeals Difficulties in obtaining evidence

#1 User is offline   magnacarta 

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 09:32 AM

This is from the latest edition of Law Talk from the NZ Law Society. You can search it on Google under Law Talk

I'm not convinced that the Court ought not to enforce strict time-tabling because remember it is the claimant's entitlements (or lack of) which is under all this.

If there are difficulties in obtaining evidence for appeals from DRSL reviews then a burden ought not to be placed on the claimant for that difficulty in having to wait and wait.

The District Court Rules provides for the just, expeditious and economical disposal of appeals - and that should be enforced by the Court unless there are good reasons for not doing so.

Difficulties in obtaining evidence from DRSL surely cannot be a justification for keeping clalimants from their entitlements for longer than necessary.

Moreover, DRSL itself does not have to be independent - it is only the reviewer who has to be independent.

This the report folows:-

Accident Compensation Committee

District Courts Tribunals Division staff and the committee recently discussed modifications to the standard letter sent to counsel calling for appeal submissions to be filed within 60 days. The committee is concerned that, given the difficulties of obtaining evidence for appeals from DRSL reviews and the late stage at which counsel are often called upon to file an appeal, it is not appropriate for the court to appear to lay down a strict timetable. The committee and Tribunals Division will work together to modify the letter.

Also of continuing concern is the independence of the ACC review body, DRSL, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the corporation.

The committee sees a need for specialist reviewers in appropriate cases and is looking forward to developing this idea further with ACC.

As noted in LawTalk 643 (18 April 2005), the committee, together with the Auckland District Law Society, has been seeking to address the low level of legal representation in Auckland for claimants at DRSL reviews. Committee member Phil Schmidt will assist the ADLS to present a seminar (likely to be held in August) for Auckland practitioners on how to conduct a review.

The committee has written to the Minister for ACC asking to be involved in the proposed review of the framework for calculating weekly earnings for seasonal workers.

The ACC has proposed changes to the Cost of Treatment Regulations and the committee is concerned at the variance between the proposed increase of 2.5% from the 1992 figures and the 33% increase in the consumer price index over the same period. It has filed a submission to this effect encouraging compliance with International Labour Organisation Convention 17 that employees should not bear the medical costs of work-related injuries.

Daniel Hilton
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#2 User is offline   watcha 

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 10:59 PM

"Sees a need for specialist reviewers in appropriate cases and is looking forward to developing this idea further with ACC."

Shouldn't the current crop of reviewers already be specialists????

Develop this idea further with ACC!!! ACC's the bloody problem maties and you want to play in its playpen???

Although I must say that the standard of review decisions dribbling out of drizzle clearly demonstrates that there is a serious lack of independent, unbiased and competent reviewers right now, never mind specialist reviewers.

What is the ADLS playing at. I question just what exactly are the lawyers doing for their claimant clients, with one or two notable exceptions. Why are they not raising relevant issues with reviewers and judges, such as the purpose of sec 3, contraventions of statute and acc fraud, to name a few.

"Committee member Phil Schmidt will assist the ADLS to present a seminar (likely to be held in August) for Auckland practitioners on how to conduct a review."

Bloody hell!!! How to conduct a review??? Lawyers or lemmings for heaven's sake??? Does this tell us the standard of lawyers around today??? We're doomed, no wonder we're cursed with unprincipled, untrained and incompetent reviewers.

"Also of continuing concern is the independence of the ACC review body, DRSL, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the corporation."

We can tell the ADLS that drizzle is not independent, and yes, we also know it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ACC. That's not the issue, it is the independence of the reviewers that is the issue. There are notable exceptions, of course, our old friend Barker - a senior official of drizzle who just also happens to conduct reviews, not only that, he was a former ACC branch manager. Now, how independent do you think he is?? Perception is the name of the game, personally, I wouldn't have a bar of him if he presented himself at my review as the reviewer.

Don't overlook the fact that the legislation provides that ACC has to appoint the reviewer, it does not provide that only DRSL reviewers can be appointed to conduct reviews. Time we pushed that issue, I certainly intend to when the occasion arises - note I said "when" - does the night follow the day?

Frankly, I don't think the law society members have any great desire to bring about change, after all, if the system works it could kill the goose that lays the golden eggs; or am I being too cynical.
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