Page 2642 - Week 08 - Thursday, 30 June 2005

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Incorporated documents

Attachment 1

Document incorporated by the Chief Minister

Mr Speaker, the Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2005 (No. 2) is the thirteenth bill in a series of bills dealing with legislation within the justice and community safety portfolio.

The Bill makes a number of minor and technical amendments to portfolio legislation. The amendments are as follows.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1989

Amendments to the Land (Planning and Environment) Act 1991 and the commencement of the Heritage Act 2004 have had the effect of removing provisions relating to appeals to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in heritage cases from the Land (Planning and Environment) Act 1991 to the Heritage Act 2004. A consequence of these amendments is that the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1989 appears on its face to require heritage cases to be dealt with in the General Division of the Tribunal, instead of the Land and Planning Division. To clarify that heritage cases should not be heard in the General Division, the Bill amends section 19(1) of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1989 to explicitly include proceedings arising from the Heritage Act 2004 as those which shall be dealt with by the Land and Planning Division.

Civil Law (Wrongs) Act 2002 and

Civil Law Wrongs Regulation 2003

The provisions in section 51 of the Act currently provide time limits for a claimant to undertake pre-court procedures for personal injury claims. The penalties for not meeting the set time limits do not arise if the claimant has a reasonable excuse for non-compliance. For example, if the claimant is delayed due to undertaking conciliation of the related health complaint, the courts would not seek to penalise the claimant for engaging in an alternative dispute resolution process. However, the specific circumstances that would be considered ‘reasonable’ are not articulated in the Act.

To ensure that claimants are not deterred from undertaking conciliation processes before initiating proceedings for personal injury claims, the Act is amended to prescribe by regulation a list of specific ‘reasonable excuses’ for not meeting the section 51 timeframe, and the Regulation clarifies that the undertaking of conciliation for a health complaint is a reasonable excuse for delay.

In addition, the ACT Law Society has expressed concern over the timeframe in section 51 of the Act, that states that the first step of the pre-court procedures for a personal injury claim must be met ‘one month after the date the claimant instructs a lawyer’. It has recommended that a more appropriate timeframe is four months rather than one month. The Bill has been amended to reflect this change.

Section 50 of the Civil Law (Wrongs) Act 2002 deals with the application of pre-court procedure provisions in Chapter 5 of the Act. The procedures do not apply to matters under the Workers Compensation Act 1951. Concern has been raised that the procedures may still apply to common law workers’ compensation matters where a

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