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Accident Compensation Cases

Reihana v Accident Rehabilitation and Compensation Insurance Corporation (DC, 11/03/97)

Judgment Text

APPLICATION FOR LEAVE TO APPEAL TO THE HIGH COURT 
A W Middleton Judge
The appellant has applied for leave to appeal to the High Court against the decision of this Court issued on 24 October 1996 under No. 126/96. The issue before the Court was the assessment of the appellant's relevant earnings as an employee for the purpose of assessing his compensation payments. 
The appellant had been incapacitated by an accident which occurred on 30 August 1993. The respondent assessed his average weekly earnings on the basis of his earnings for the year preceding the date of incapacity divided by 52. The appellant was concerned that his average weekly earnings in the 4 weeks immediately before the accident were substantially higher than the average for 52 weeks prior to the incapacity. The Court held, following numerous previous appeal decisions, that the definition of “weekly earnings” has been the subject of consideration by the Courts in the past and that there is no argument as to the manner in which they should be assessed. The Court held that pursuant to s 40 as it applied to this appellant, weekly earnings were divided into two stages being, first, the average over 4 weeks prior to the accident which applies for the 4 weeks following the accident and secondly the calculation based on 52 weeks prior to the accident which governs the position after the 4 weeks following the accident. The finding of the Judge was that in those circumstances that “there is no ambiguity”
In his submission the appellant has stated that the Court failed to appreciate the broad common law principles behind the Accident Rehabilitation and Compensation Insurance Act 1992 with the result that he has suffered an unfair result. He submitted further that regard should be had to the Parliamentary arguments which took place during the process of formulating the legislation. He also submitted that having regard to s 5(j) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1924, the Court should have given a liberal and fair interpretation to the Act. 
The issues which this appellant raises have been canvassed in numerous appeals and I agree with the Court's finding that there is no ambiguity in the legislation. I do not consider that there is therefore a question of law which it is necessary to have considered by the High Court. 
The application for leave to appeal to the High Court is declined. 

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