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Accident Compensation Cases

Atley v Accident Compensation Corporation (DC, 07/11/06)

Judgment Text

Judge J. Cadenhead
The Issue 
At issue is an application for review by the appellant dated 5 October 2005, brought from a letter by the Accident Compensation Corporation (“the Corporation”) dated 3 October 2005. 
Background of Facts 
In or about June 1996 the appellant lodged a claim for cover for a back injury. The appellant has since received weekly compensation and other entitlements. A long term assessment of weekly compensation was made on 31 January 1992 and sent to the appellant along with review rights. The appellant never sought to review this decision within the time allowed. I sought this information from the respondent. 
On 3 October 2005 the Corporation wrote to the appellant enclosing ACC40 and ACC41 forms pertaining to the assessment of the appellant's weekly compensation. 
The appellant completed a review application on 5 October 2005 from the Corporation's letter of 3 October 2005. The reasons for the application read: 
“That the details in this ACC40 are incorrect. ”
The review proceedings were dealt with on the papers. 
On 5 December 2005 the reviewer issued a decision dismissing the review. The reviewer stated that despite providing the appellant with an opportunity to lodge written submissions in support of the review none were forthcoming. The reviewer noted the Corporation's position at review as: 
“Mr Sio's written submissions are summarised: 
The ACC640 has not changed Mr Atley's weekly compensation entitlements. 
His weekly compensation has had no changes, except for the yearly indexation amounts for each financial year. ”
The reviewer proceeded to dismiss the review. The reviewer held at page 4 of the decision: 
“On the face of it, the ACC640 is merely an administrative document that Mr Atley received on a regular basis. It does not change, except for the normal yearly indexation increases, which ACC is required to pass on to Mr Atley. 
If Mr Atley objected to the quantum, he could have reviewed this when he was first assessed for weekly compensation. 
Even if I confirm jurisdiction on the basis that the ACC640 of 5 October 2005 constitutes a decision, I find that ACC has correctly advised Mr Atley of his weekly compensation entitlement, which is increased yearly to reflect the indexation. …  ”
The appellant filed a notice of appeal on or about 20 December 2005. 
Legal Principles 
Section 134(1) of the Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Compensation Act 2001 (“the 2001 Act”) reads: 
“134. Who may apply for review 
A claimant may apply to the Corporation for a review of - 
any of its decisions on the claim: 
any delay in processing the claim for entitlement that the claimant believes is an unreasonable delay: 
any of its decisions under the code on a complaint by the claimant. ”
The term “decision” is defined at s 6(1) of the 2001 Act as: 
Decision or Corporation's decision includes all or any of the following decisions by the Corporation: 
a decision whether or not a claimant has cover; 
a decision about the classification of the personal injury a claimant has suffered (for example, a work-related personal injury or a motor vehicle injury): 
a decision whether or not the Corporation will provide any entitlements to a claimant: 
a decision about which entitlements the Corporation will provide to a claimant: 
a decision relating to the level of any entitlements to be provided: 
a decision relating to the levy payable by a particular levy payer: 
a decision made under the Code about a claimant's complaint. ”
It is clear that what the appellant is seeking to contest is the original assessment as to the base calculations. This decision along with review rights was forwarded to him in 1992 and he took no steps to review these calculations. Since then those calculations have provided the basis for further updates. The appellant is well out of time to challenge these calculations. 
The appeal is dismissed. There is no order as to costs. 
For the reasons that I have given the appeal is dismissed. There will be no order as to costs. 

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