Media release

REVIEW OF LEGAL COSTS FOR WORK CAPACITY DECISIONS

Media Release | Thursday, 29 October 2015

Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello today opened a public consultation to help inform the NSW Government’s position on the regulation of legal costs related to work capacity decision reviews for injured workers.

Mr Dominello said the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) has released a discussion paper following new workers compensation laws that came into effect in August.

“The new workers compensation laws allow for limited payment of legal costs that are directly connected with a work capacity decision review,” he said.

“This consultation follows a review conducted by the NSW Parliament Standing Committee on Law and Justice last year, which recommended the NSW Government consider changes to allow payment of legal costs.”

The discussion paper examines three regulatory options:

  • Setting a maximum cost of specific legal services;
  • Establishing classes of reviews where legal costs are not payable;
  • Identifying circumstances where one party may be liable to pay the other’s legal costs.

Reforms to workers compensation introduced in 2012 meant that insurers make work capacity decisions about workers. If a worker does not agree with this decision they can go through a review process.

However, legal practitioners were unable to be paid for any work they did in connection to an injured worker’s work capacity decision review.

The discussion paper is available at www.workcover.nsw.gov.au. Submissions close 23 November 2015. Email submissions to 2015benefitsreform@sira.nsw.gov.au