Page 3817 - Week 12 - Thursday, 29 October 2015

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amendment. Section 295 in chapter 11 provides that the chapter expires 12 months after the amendments of the Road Transport (Third-Party Insurance) Act 2008 commence.

Section 150 allows a claimant, with the court’s leave, to begin an urgent court proceeding based on a motor accident claim even if certain time limits under the act, part 4.9, which is about court proceedings, are not complied with. Consequently, other pre-trial requirements set out in the act, chapter 4, designed to reduce litigation such as compulsory pre-trial conferences and mandatory final offers of settlement, could also be dispensed with under section 150. The amendments to section 150(1) and (3) replace the word “part” with “chapter” and enable the court to stay proceedings and order parties to comply with pre-trial requirements such as compulsory conferences and exchanging final offers before taking further action.

Section 150(4) currently enables the court to not stay the proceeding if satisfied that the claimant is suffering from a terminal condition and the trial should be expedited for this reason. The amendment to section 150(5) provides that in these circumstances part 4.7 (compulsory conferences before court proceedings), part 4.8 (mandatory final offers) and part 4.9 (court proceedings)—other than section 150—do not apply. However, the other parts of chapter 4, such as part 4.2—motor accident claims procedures—will still apply as this sets out the processes by which the claimant for a motor accident brings a court proceeding against a respondent for the claim.

Schedule 2 contains minor, non-controversial structural amendments of the Legislation Act 2001 initiated by the Parliamentary Counsel’s Office. Structural issues are particularly concerned with making the statute book more coherent and concise and therefore more accessible. Strategies to achieve these objectives include avoiding unnecessary duplication and achieving the maximum degree of standardisation of legislative provisions consistent with policy requirements and operational needs.

In this bill, Madam Speaker, the Legislation Act is amended to provide more flexibility in relation to legislative tabling requirements for documents that must be presented to the Assembly within a stated period. The amendment allows these documents to be tabled in the Assembly outside the sitting period. For example, the minister’s response to an Ombudsman’s report must be presented in the Assembly within three months of the report being tabled. However, if the Ombudsman provided a report to the government immediately before the last sitting day of the year, or on the last sitting day of the Assembly before an election, there might be no realistic way for the government of the day to respond to the report within the required three months. Enabling these documents to be tabled out of session will provide more flexibility and increase government efficiency where the government might otherwise be unable to comply with a tabling requirement because of the timing of Assembly sittings. It is not intended that presentation out of session become the usual practice, rather, another option to make it easier to comply with tabling requirements.

A minor amendment is also made to the Legislation Act, section 104, to omit a redundant section definition of “statutory instrument” of another jurisdiction.

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