This edition was issued on 22 September 2023
Judge Gerard Phillips is currently on leave, and I am Acting President during his absence.
In this edition, we provide an update on the amendments to motor accidents legislation that was impacting Commission decisions relating to the treatment improving the recovery of an injured person.
We would also like to remind practitioners about the filing of factual investigation reports as per Procedural Direction 3.
We acknowledge the passing of Stephen Churches and Philip Young, two senior practitioners associated with the Commission. On behalf of the Commission, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to their families, friends and colleagues.
Finally, you can find the details of the Commission’s end-of-year shutdown period from Monday 25 December 2023 to Friday 5 January 2024.
Treatment improving the recovery of an injured person
The Motor Accident Injuries Amendment Regulation 2023 (Regulation) was published on the NSW Legislation website on Friday 22 September 2023, remedying the jurisdictional issues created by the amendments to the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017 (the Act) as outlined in Edition 54 of the Personal Injury Commission News.
The object of this regulation is to amend the Motor Accident Injuries Regulation 2017 to provide that the Act, Schedule 2, clause 2(c), as in force immediately before its repeal on 1 April 2023 (the repealed provision), continues to apply in relation to a motor accident occurring before 1 April 2023.
The continued application of the repealed provision will enable medical assessors and medical review panels at the Personal Injury Commission to determine whether, for the Act, section 3.28, treatment or care provided to an injured person will improve the recovery of the injured person.
Section 3.28(3), as in force immediately before its repeal on 1 April 2023, applies to a motor accident occurring before 1 April 2023. The section enables the payment of treatment and care expenses incurred more than 26 weeks after a motor accident in relation to threshold injuries if the treatment and care will improve the recovery of the injured person.
The amending Regulation has retrospectively reinstated the power of medical assessors and medical review panels to determine medical disputes on recovery as was the case immediately before the repeal of Schedule 2, clause 2 (c) on 1 April 2023.
Filing of factual investigation reports
Parties are reminded of the requirements of the Personal Injury Commission Rules 2021 and Procedural Direction PIC3 – Documents and late documents when filing material with the Commission.
Any annexures, attachments and witness statements included in dispute notices and factual investigation reports must be separately indexed and clearly identified with a start page in the list of documents when filed.
Properly indexed factual investigation reports will greatly assist with enabling the Commission to resolve the real issues in proceedings justly, quickly, cost effectively and with as little formality as possible, as outlined under the objects of the Personal Injury Commission Act 2020.
Vale Stephen Churches and Philip Young
It was with great sadness that we learned in the last two weeks of the passing of two senior practitioners associated with the Commission.
Stephen Churches passed away on 8 September and Philip Young on 18 September.
Stephen was a well-respected senior practitioner with a long and varied career, over 38 years, in the law. Earlier this year, he was appointed Sessional Member of the Personal Injury Commission of New South Wales in the Workers Compensation Division.
The Newcastle Law Society described Stephen as “a ‘shirt off my back’ type of person, good natured and with a happy-go-lucky attitude to life and the law”.
Philip was very highly regarded in all fields of insurance law. He was a sessional arbitrator of the Workers Compensation Commission of New South Wales from 24 January 2017, then a member of the Personal Injury Commission of New South Wales from its inception on 1 March 2021. He was a member of both the Workers Compensation and Motor Accidents divisions.
Our sincerest condolences go out to both their families, friends and many work colleagues. They will be sorely missed by everyone.
Christmas and New Year shutdown 2023/24
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.
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