Stacks Goudkamp’s Special Counsel, Belinda Cassidy presented a paper entitled “Tribunals and Tribulations” at the Law Society’s Specialist Accreditation Conference last Friday. The conference was held at the wonderful International Conference Centre at Darling Harbour and other speakers included former Deputy State Coroner Hugh Dillon, Andrew Morrison SC, Andrew Stone SC, David Hirsch, Richard Royle SC, Tim Concannon and Jnana Gumbert.

Belinda’s paper covered three areas:

  1. The rule of law, the independence of tribunals and why they are important in the light of the NSW Parliament’s upper house inquiry into the feasibility of a consolidated workers compensation and motor accident tribunal;
  2. Blameless (no-fault) accidents and the difficulty of reconciling sections 3.1 and 5.4 of the Motor Accident Injuries Act – do drivers in a no-fault (blameless accident) have any entitlement to statutory benefits at all or only for the first 26 weeks?
  3. Hard (s 3.11) versus soft (s 3.28) cut offs from statutory benefits for those wholly or mostly at fault with a focus on the provisions of s 3.28(3) and the ability for persons with minor injuries who are at fault to obtain treatment and care beyond the first 26 weeks.

Belinda’s paper was well received and provoked discussion particularly around the issue of blameless or no-fault accidents which have become even more problematic under the current motor accident compensation scheme.