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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Accident Compensation Cases

Henderson v Accident Compensation Corporation (DC, 27/02/06)

Judgment Text

Judge M J Beattie
This appeal was scheduled for hearing on 14 February commencing at 11.45 a.m. in the Christchurch District Court. Although the appellant had had legal representation at an earlier point in this appeal, his Counsel had withdrawn from the proceedings back in November 2005 and thenceforth the appellant had been representing himself. 
The appellant did not appear at the appointed time and place for the hearing but he did telephone the Wellington Registry at about 11.15 a.m. on 14 February 2006 to advise that he would not be appearing, that he had no further evidence to present or submissions to make. 
In fact, the Court had received no submissions from the appellant, but it had received written submissions from Mr Hunt representing the respondent. 
Rather than dismiss the appeal pursuant to Section 161(3)(a) on the basis that the appellant failed to appear at the appointed time for the hearing of the appeal, I elected to dismiss the appeal on its merits and I did so advise to Mr Hunt at the hearing. I indicated I would give my reasons in writing. 
This appeal relates to the respondent's decision of 4 September 2003 whereby it declined the appellant's claim for an Independence Allowance on the grounds that his level of Whole Person Impairment was less than the 10% minimum required under the Act for an Independence Allowance entitlement. 
The respondent had made its decision on the basis of an Independence Allowance Assessment carried out by Dr John MacVicar, who was instructed to assess the appellant's hearing loss in relation to his covered injury of Occupational Noise Induced Hearing Loss. 
In his assessment Dr MacVicar assessed the appellant's impairment arising from Occupational Noise Induced Hearing Loss as being 2%. For the purposes of his assessment Dr MacVicar, had sought and obtained the expert opinion of Mr Christopher Thomson, Otolaryngologist. 
The evidence of Dr MacVicar and Mr Thomson has not been questioned in any way and the Court has indicated in a great number of its decisions that the assessments of duly appointed assessors will be accepted unless there is clear and cogent evidence that such assessment is flawed in some material way. 
No such evidence has been introduced in this case and this was evident from the file when the matter was called. Accordingly, I find that this appeal is without merit, and it is hereby dismissed. 

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