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Friday, 12 June 1970


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

(1)   Is it a fact that the Commissioner for Commonwealth Employees' Compensation refuses to grant legal costs in respect of appeals from workmen's compensation claims except on the basis of an agreement which exists between most solicitors and insurance companies that the assessment of cost shall be on the basis of one-half of the Supreme Court scale.

(2)   Can he say whether some legalfirms specialising in workmen's compensation have refused to act for this scale of charges.

(3)   Can he state the number of occasions on which costs in respect of employees' compensation claims have been taxed by the Registrar of a Supreme Court.

(4)   Is it a fact that injured employees are finding difficulty in securing legal firms to act on their behalf; if so, will he consider altering the relevant rules so as to bring costs in respect of Commonwealth employees' compensation proceedings in line withcosts awarded in other proceedings.


Mr Bury - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   No. The matter of the costs of an appeal under the Commonwealth Employees' Compensation Act 1930-1969 is outside the Authority of the Commissioner for Employees' Compensation. Regulation 11 of the Commonwealth Employees' Compensation Regulations provides that a Court may award costs in respect of an appeal under the Act, and in default of agreement between the parties as to the amount of thecosts, thecosts are taxed in accordance with the appropriate Court scale or are fixed by the Court. Neither the Commissioner nor the Commonwealth is a party to any agreement that the assessment of the costs shall be on the basis of one-half of the Supreme Court scale.

(2)   See answer to (1).

(3)   The records for the last 10 years indicate that in that period there have been no cases where the costs in respect of appeals under the Commonwealth Employees' Compensation Act have been taxed by the Registrar of a Supreme Court. In the States an appeal from a Determination of the Commissioner may be made to a County Court or similar Court and any further appeal lies to the High Court. In the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory appeals may be made from a Court of Petty Sessions or a Local Court to the Supreme Court of the Territory and thence to the High Court.

(4)   Neither I nor the Commissioner for Employees' Compensation has received any representation from an employee that difficulty has been found in securing a legal firm to act on his behalf in an appeal under the Commonwealth Employees' Compensation Act







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