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Accident Compensation Cases

Barnett v Accident Compensation Corporation (DC, 28/11/17)

Judgment Text

RESERVED JUDGMENT OF JUDGE L G POWELL Reviewable Decision S 134(1) Accident Compensation Act 2001 
Judge L G Powell
[1]
On 12 October 2016 the appellant, Trevor Barnett, wrote to the Corporation apparently seeking information relating to a decision made by Judge Barber on an earlier claim made by Mr Barnett.1
| X |Footnote: 1
The only judgment issued by Judge Barber with regard to Mr Barnett appears to be that at [2009] NZACC 154
In response the Corporation wrote to Mr Barnett as follows: 
“Thank you for your letter of 12 October 2016 requesting information following your recent appeal decision. 
You have requested information regarding what Judge Barber may have been referring to in the appeal decision. Judge Barber's reasoning is contained in his appeal decision document and this is the only information that ACC hold, therefore we are unable to comment on this. 
I have enclosed a further copy of the appeal decision for your information …  ”
[2]
Upon receipt of this letter Mr Barnett sent a text message to the Corporation stating that he was applying for a review “on October 12 letter”
[3]
As the Corporation did not send a letter to Mr Barnett on 12 October 2016 the issue in this appeal is whether the Corporation's letter of 19 October 2016 constitutes a reviewable decision. A review hearing was set down but Mr Barnett did not attend and Reviewer L Edmondson dismissed his application for review on the basis that “Mr Barnett's message did not seek [a] review of any reviewable decision”. Reviewer Edmondson noted that the Corporation's letter: 
“ … did not relate to Mr Barnett's cover or entitlements. It did not relate to any delay in processing a claim for an entitlement. It was not a decision made under the Code of ACC Claimants' Rights. Ms Mercer was responding to Mr Barnett's request for information. ”
[4]
Prior to the hearing of the appeal Mr Barnett filed a certificate from his general practitioner that said: 
“Trevor has long-standing anxiety and depression. He has a court case pending which has caused an exacerbation of this condition. I understand that he has a summons [sic] to court on 27th November. In my opinion Trevor is not able to comply with the summons due to ill health. ”
[5]
Significantly, Mr Barnett did not seek an adjournment of the hearing. Rather he filed additional material with the Registry on 24 November 2017. Of relevance, the final line in the covering document provided: 
“Sincerely trust you Judge L.G. Powell will take notice of my written testimony. ”
[6]
Given these considerations I elected to proceed with Mr Barnett's appeal when it was called, and I have now had the opportunity to read the documents provided by Mr Barnett in support of the appeal together with the submissions filed on behalf of the Corporation. 
[7]
It is apparent from the material that Mr Barnett has filed that he has a wide range of issues with the Corporation dating back many years. I am however unable to see how any of the evidence and other documents that have been provided relates to the Corporation's letter of 19 October 2016, still less that it shows how that letter could possibly constitute a reviewable decision for the purposes of the Accident Compensation Act 2001. Like Reviewer Edmondson I am satisfied that the Corporation's letter of 19 October 2016 did not relate to Mr Barnett's cover or entitlements, nor any delay in processing a claim for an entitlement or was a decision under the Code of ACC Claimants' Rights as is required for any valid review pursuant to s 134(1) of the Act. Instead it is clear that rather than making any decision the Corporation was careful to do no more than let Judge Barber's judgment, issued some years before, speak for itself. As a result Mr Barnett's appeal cannot succeed, and must be, and is, dismissed. There is no issue as to costs. 


The only judgment issued by Judge Barber with regard to Mr Barnett appears to be that at [2009] NZACC 154

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