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Accident Compensation Cases

Dekker v Accident Compensation Corporation (DC, 29/04/03)

Judgment Text

A W Middleton Judge
The appellant has applied for leave to appeal to the High Court against the decision of His Honour Judge D A Ongley issued on 30 January 2002 under No. 34/2002. 
The issue before the Court was whether the respondent was correct to decline the appellant's request to provide additional vocational rehabilitation. 
Under s 165 of the Accident Insurance Act 1998 an appellant who is dissatisfied with a decision of this Court as being wrong in law may, with the leave of this Court, appeal to the High Court. 
The appellant submits that there are two issues of law arising from Judge Ongley's decision being: 
Whether the respondent is required to fully consider clauses 54, 55 and 56 of Schedule 1 to the Act when a claimant requests additional vocational rehabilitation by amendment to his or her Individual Rehabilitation Programme (IRP). 
Whether the respondent can decline to provide additional vocational rehabilitation by amending a claimant's IRP solely on the basis of the claimant's earlier verbal agreement not to pursue that additional rehabilitation. 
The decision letter the subject of the appeal stated that the respondent would not provide further vocational rehabilitation or amend the appellant's IRP because it considered the appellant's rehabilitation to be complete. 
Judge Ongley found that as the evidence disclosed that after meetings between the case manager and the appellant at which the appellant agreed that he no longer required further rehabilitation assistance there was no need for a modification to the IRP. 
While the appellant submits that Judge Ongley made a finding of law that the respondent was not required in the circumstances to take the provisions of clause 56 into account following the appellant's acceptance that he did not need further rehabilitation, I do not consider that Judge Ongley made any finding of law. All that Judge Ongley decided was that the respondent was entitled to accept that the appellant's rehabilitation was complete so that no additional vocational rehabilitation was needed. 
A similar position applies to the appellant's submission that Judge Ongley made a finding of law when he held that the respondent was entitled to decline the appellant's request for further vocational rehabilitation based on the appellant's agreement that he no longer required such assistance. It is clear from the decision that Judge Ongley found that on the evidence the respondent had provided all the rehabilitation specified in the IRP so that rehabilitation was completed in accordance with the agreement made between both parties. I do not consider that that involves a question of law. 
I find therefore, that there are no questions of law arising out of Judge Ongley's decision and the application for leave to appeal to the High Court is declined. 

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