Tuesday November 13, 2018

ACC Claimants Blogs

ACC Claimants Blogs

Fairway Resolution Limited: Is this company independent?

IMHO this company is complicit in the perversion of Justice when dealing with ACC Claimants.

In 1992 the Government "privatised" ACC.

The government also removed the Accident Compensation Appeal Authority (a judicial entity) as the sole arbiter of appeals against ACC decisions.

From 1992 reviews and appeals were heard by a multiple of (non judicial) independent review authorities.

This led to a an incredible mishmash of decisions which formed ACC case Law and district court precedence.

Dispute Resolution Services Limited (DRSL) was established in 1999 as a stand-alone entity owned by the ACC in an attempt to bring 'order' (consistency) to ACC case law.

The Dispute Resolution Services Limited (DRSL) became an independent Crown-owned company in 2011.

In November 2013 the Dispute Resolution Services Limited (DRSL) was renamed Fairway Resolution Limited.

In July 2017 Fairway Resolution Limited became a private company owned by its staff.

The review process requires to the ACC to use an independent reviewer normally Fairways Resolution Ltd.

When a review of a decision is made ACC is required to acknowledge the review (Section 136) & to submit that review request to the 'independent' reviewer (Section 137) who then assigns a review number to it.

The Reviewer then must set a date for the review to be heard (within three months of lodgement) and advises both parties of the date so that submissions can be made.

Should a review not be heard within three months the outcome of that review is 'deemed' in favour of the claimant.

All review decision are binding on both parties. 

However when a decision is about cover for an injury different rules apply.

The decision about cover for an injury must be made with 21 days unless ACC apply for an extension. All up ACC have only four months to issue a decision. See Section 56 Steps Corporation takes to action claims for cover

Some claims for cover can be considered complicated in which case Section 57 Steps Corporation takes to action complicated claims for cover applies. However ACC must make a decision within 9 nine months of a claim being lodged.

Should a decision for cover not be made within the prescribed time frame the claimant is is to be regarded as having a decision by the Corporation that he or she has cover for the personal injury in respect of which the claim was made. See section 58 Effect of failure to meet time limits of the act.

However ACC can revoke any review decision on cover at it's whim. Section 65 Corporation may revise decisions

So to the point of this blog.

I had it reported to me this month that a claimant had a deemed review decision on cover accepted by the corporation and that decision was then immediately revoked by the ACC using Section 65.

So what is the claimant to do?

Review the decision made by ACC using section 65 of the act? The reviewer will not look at whether the claimant should have cover or the fact that ACC failed to make a decision on cover. The claimant will loose that review because section 65 gives ACC the power to revoke decisions on cover

Should the claimant appeal that review decision to court they will again loose because section 65 of the act gives ACC the power to revoke decisions on cover. The Judge will not look at the fact the ACC failed to make a decision on cover within the prescribed time frame.

So at best the least the claimant has waited nine months for a decision on cover and another three months for a review decision on cover which was deemed in their favour because Dispute Resolution sevices did not set a date for a hearing or hear the case. A further three months for another review. Three weeks for an appeal to the district court and an unimaginable wait for the district court date.

So what has happened?

Did ACC or the particular case manager not submit the review request to Dispute resolutions? Thereby frustrating the course of justice.

The claimant insists that Dispute Resolutions accepted the review but did not hear the review or set a date for the hearing within the prescribed time frame.

The act states the reviewer must hold a review. No if's, but's or maybe's?

SO why did Dispute Resolution services not hold a review?

Possibly the ACC failed to make submissions to the case. Not an issue really the reviewer would have to find in the claimants favour.

Or the ACC instructed Dispute Resolutions not to progress the review.

Obviously in the above possibilities Dispute Resolution Services has to be complicit in denying natural justice to the claimant.

It would be interesting to look at the contract ACC has with it's ex-staff and find out if they are required to hear a review.

Unfortunately as a private company Fairways Resolution Limited is no longer subject to requests for information under the Official Information act.

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