On 1 October 2015, the Queensland Industrial Relations
Commission (QIRC) commenced a new process for dealing with appeals
against review decisions of the Workers' Compensation Regulator
(Regulator). The changes are significant and affect not only the
way in which appeals are conducted, but also the steps leading up
to any hearing.
There are a number of key steps that must be undertaken once a
notice of appeal has been filed in the QIRC. The steps now require
parties to turn their minds to the key areas of dispute in any
appeal and streamline the disclosure process.
Process once a notice of appeal is filed
Once a notice of appeal is filed, a directions order will be
issued to the parties within one to two days. A directions order
will require each party to:
file and serve a statement of facts and contentions; and
file and serve a list of the names of all witnesses to be
called at the hearing.
Within one week of completion of directions, matters will be
listed for a callover. The callover generally requires parties'
representatives to attend the QIRC to provide an update as to the
status of a matter or seek further directions if required.
the contentions that a party believes should be drawn from
While the usual practice will be for an appellant to provide a
statement first, the QIRC may order the Regulator to provide its
statement first. If this occurs, the Regulator will have a further
opportunity to refine its statement once it has reviewed the
statement of the appellant.
Most importantly, a statement is binding. This means that a
party will not be able to put forward an alternate version of any
facts or contentions at a later date unless an application to amend
a statement is filed within seven days of the callover or any
conference (whichever is later).
The structure of a hearing
All evidence at a hearing is to be provided orally, without any
reliance on affidavits or witness statements. Generally, however,
expert witnesses may give evidence via telephone.
After the calling of witnesses has concluded, parties will be
required to make written or oral submissions addressing section 32
of the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act
Usually a decision will be reserved and a written copy will be
provided at a later date.
As these changes have only recently been made, their effect is
yet to be known in full. Should you require further information,
please contact Tony Park, Brady Cockburn, Kara Thomson or Kim
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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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