The Workers' Compensation (Legal Practitioners and
Registered Agents) Costs Determination 2015 came into effect
on 1 July 2015. This new determination applies to the remuneration
of legal practitioners and registered agents for work carried out
in WorkCover WA proceedings from 1 July 2015.
As to the scale of the maximum hours a legal practitioner or
registered agent may charge in relation to conciliation,
arbitration and stand-alone items, the following changes were
Under Item 3 (resolution of a dispute after lodging a
conciliation application and before a conciliation conference,
including all necessary preparation and the approved
documentation), the old determination allowed 2 hours. The new
determination allows 3 hours.
Under Item 6 (resolution of a dispute after the lodging of an
arbitration application and before the arbitration hearing,
including all necessary preparation and the approved documentation
and attendance at directions hearings), the old determination
allowed 5 hours. The new determination allows 6 hours.
For every additional directions hearing and interlocutory
application, the old determination also allowed 1 hour. The new
determination allows 2 hours per additional directions hearing and
3 hours per additional interlocutory application.
The only other change of significance is that in the old
determination, Items 1 to 4 inclusive of the scale (Item 1 –
obtaining instructions from client and attempts to resolve the
dispute by negotiation before involvement in proceedings, Item 2
– preparation of and lodging a conciliation application
including relevant approved supporting documentation, Item 3
– see paragraph 1 above, Item 4 – where a dispute is
resolved at or after a conciliation conference, including all
necessary preparation and documentation) were consecutive and
cumulative milestones, the new determination provides only that
Items 1 and 2 are consecutive and cumulative.
For example; to recover for legal or agent services provided
under Item 4, the legal practitioner or registered agent must first
provide the legal or agent services described in Items 1 and 2
inclusive. Further, Items 3 and 4 are not claimable cumulatively
and a claim under only one item or the other may be made.
In practical terms this means instead of being able to claim a
maximum of 18 hours for Items 1 to 4, it will now only be possible
to claim either 10 or 15 hours.
It therefore appears, from an employer/insurer perspective, that
what the Costs Committee has given with one hand (reducing the
opportunity for legal practitioners or agents to charge for Items 1
to 4 on a consecutive and cumulative basis) it has taken with the
other (increasing the hours which are now recoverable under Items 3
As Punch put it, somewhat of a "curate's egg"
perhaps – good in parts?
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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