This edition was issued on 27 November 2023
In this edition, there are updates on the continued rollout of our single digital platform and the Commission’s approach to interlocutory appeals in workers compensation matters.
I am encouraging legal practitioners to be aware of the Commission’s updated decision publication policy and would also like to remind all our tribunal users to be mindful of cyber security.
In recent months, the Commission has held a number of key events with our medical assessors, mediators, members and merit reviewers. Each of these events was a great success and I’d like to extend a big thank you to all our guest speakers and attendees.
Finally, a reminder that the Commission will close for two weeks over the Christmas and New Year period.
Separately, I spoke at the New South Wales Self Insurers Association Annual General Meeting last month. It was a fantastic opportunity to provide an update on the Commission’s operations, the deployment of Pathway, cyber security, upcoming rules changes and drafting grounds of appeal. You can read my speech on the Commission’s website.
I will be in touch with another edition of the Personal Injury Commission News soon.
Judge Gerard Phillips
Following the successful rollout of the Commission’s new single digital platform, Pathway, to motor accidents users in June 2023, the Commission is now building the workers compensation aspects of the platform. We anticipate that workers compensation users will transition to the Pathway platform in mid-2024.
When workers compensation users move to the platform, all Commission staff, decision makers and parties will have a single place and a single way to engage in the dispute resolution process online.
While the current workers compensation Comcase platform is well regarded, it is old and nearing the end of its operational life and needs to be replaced with Pathway while it is still functioning. The change is also necessary to attain the high level of cyber protections that Pathway provides and to bring several of the workers compensation processes that are currently performed offline onto the digital platform to achieve greater efficiency in the dispute resolution process.
As such, there will be changes and the Commission’s workers compensation staff and decision makers and tribunal users will have new things to learn and different ways of doing things to get comfortable with.
As with the implementation of Pathway to motor accidents users, workers compensation users will be supported through the transition to Pathway with a comprehensive program of communication, education, training and post-launch assistance and reference materials.
We will provide further updates about the transition in the new year.
Interlocutory appeals: workers compensation
The Commission’s Presidential Unit is approaching interlocutory appeals in the following manner: if an appeal is filed and is truly an appeal against an interlocutory decision of a member (as opposed to an interlocutory decision that in effect finally determines rights), the appeal will be swiftly listed for an oral hearing before a Presidential member.
Parties are advised to be ready for this and be prepared to argue the question of leave (see s 352 (3A) of the 1998 Act).
The intention is that either an ex-tempore decision disposing of the appeal will be delivered, or a written decision will be published soon thereafter.
Applying for redaction or de-identification of Commission decisions
The decision publication policy on the Commission’s website has been updated and clarifies that applications for redaction and de-identification can be made at any time during Commission proceedings.
While s 58 of the Personal Injury Commission Act 2020 requires the Commission to publish various types of decisions, parties may apply to have a decision de-identified or redacted under rule 132 of the Personal Injury Commission Rules 2021.
An application to have a decision de-identified or redacted can be made at any time during the proceedings, for example, to the member before their decision is issued, or within seven days after the decision is issued. The matters the Commission may have regard to when deciding to de-identify or redact a decision are outlined in rule 132(4).
We urge all legal practitioners to ensure their clients are aware that they can apply to have a decision redacted or de-identified and encourage you to lodge applications as early as possible, addressing the matters set out in rule 132(4).
Independent Legal Assistance and Review Service (ILARS) funding may be available for redaction and de-identification applications in workers compensation matters.
The Commission is currently working on a factsheet and will make this available on our website once complete.
We again remind all Commission stakeholders of the critical importance of being aware of cyber security and the significant role it plays in the work we do.
The consequences of a data breach can have a devastating impact on the injured people that we serve and our credibility as an organisation. We all have a solemn responsibility to protect the information injured people entrust us with.
One good first step in ensuring cyber security is to carefully consider what information you provide to the Commission, particularly as it relates to the personal details of injured people and ensure that only the specific information needed for the lodgement is provided.
Please also exercise care with your passwords and devices when accessing the Commission’s platforms, and more generally when working on information as it relates to your work with the Commission.
Engaging our people
The Commission had the privilege of facilitating its second annual conference series in recent months, hosting the Mediator Conference, the Medical Assessor Forum and, just last week, the Member and Merit Reviewer Conference.
These important events bring together our decision makers with various experts and practitioners to provide operational updates, deliver invaluable insights into current professional practice and share important learnings.
We are very thankful to our presenters and extend our gratitude to all the attendees whose presence and enthusiastic engagement made each event a resounding success.
The Commission’s operations will completely close from Monday 25 December 2023 to Friday 5 January 2024 with normal operations to resume on Monday 8 January 2024.
Key dates to note:
- The last official sitting day of the Commission is Friday 15 December 2023. However, matters may be listed by exception during the week of 18 December 2023.
- There will be no medical assessments conducted between Monday 25 December 2023 and Friday 5 January 2024.
- There will be no certificates issued between Monday 18 December 2023 and Friday 5 January 2024, however, the Commission will receive certificates up until COB on Friday 22 December 2023.
- Commission events will recommence on Monday 8 January 2024.
All applications, including appeals and reviews, that are lodged during the shutdown period will be taken as registered at the time they are lodged with the Commission. Please note that the documents lodged with the Commission will still need to comply with the relevant legislation and rules.
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