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Accident Compensation Cases

Veevers v Accident Compensation Corporation (DC, 26/05/08)

Judgment Text

ORDER OF JUDGE P F BARBER STRIKING OUT APPEAL 
Judge P F Barber
[1]
On 27 September 2004 the appellant lodged a Notice of Appeal to this Court from a review decision issued in Christchurch on 3 September 2004 by Reviewer Ms V Thomson confirming that ACC correctly declined to pay the appellant lump sum compensation for injuries she sustained in about April 2002. On 24 May 2004 ACC had issued a decision declining to pay such compensation on the basis that the appellant's level of impairment had been assessed at less than 10%. 
[2]
At that stage the appellant was represented by John Miller Law, Wellington. 
[3]
The registry sought submissions from Mr Miller on 26 November 2004 and was advised that medical evidence was being awaited. That position seemed to continue except that, by April 2006, Mr Miller's office was awaiting instructions from the appellant as to whether to proceed further following the lawyer's further analysis of the case. 
[4]
By late September 2006 the registry was advised that the appellant's lawyers were trying to convince the appellant to withdraw and reach a settlement with ACC, but the appellant was having difficulties in deciding her course. This position continued until early March 2007 but, by September 2007, the appellant's whereabouts had become unknown and communications from the registry to her were returned “not at this address” in terms of her Dunedin address on the record. From then until now all correspondence has been so returned. John Miller Law withdrew from this case in September 2007. 
[5]
Clause 12 of the current practice note for this jurisdiction reads: 
“12.
The parties are required to notify the registry where they may be contacted at all times, along with telephone numbers. If the parties change their address and telephone numbers the change must be immediately notified to the Registry. Failure to comply with this requirement may be a ground for striking out the appeal for want of prosecution. ”
[6]
I conducted a Directions Conference for this appeal on 26 March 2008 at Dunedin arranged pursuant to proper procedures. The appellant had not attended that directions hearing and notice of that conference and of my directions have been returned from the address recorded for the appellant. I ordered that the appellant file submissions by 2 May 2008 and that if she failed to do so then the appeal is to be struck out for want of prosecution. 
[7]
I am satisfied that this appeal is not being prosecuted with due diligence. Accordingly it is hereby dismissed for want of prosecution pursuant to s 161(3)(b) of the Act. 

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