A dispute may be lodged by a former commissioned officer, non-commissioned officer, constable or Aboriginal police liaison officer who has ceased to hold office because they were retired on medical grounds under Part IIC of the Police Act, and who has received a notice from the Police Commissioner as to the approved medical specialist’s determination for the degree of impairment, or the assessor’s determination for compensation for permanent total incapacity, and that they dispute the determination that has been made.
A dispute may also be lodged on behalf of an eligible party, as described above, by an adult who can fairly and competently conduct the proceedings and does not have an interest contrary to the interest of the medically retired member, if the adult is a spouse, de facto partner, next friend, or close associate of the medically retired member and if the member is incapable of lodging a dispute themselves. In this instance, a legal practitioner may also lodge on their behalf.
A dispute must be lodged within 28 days after the notice given from the Police Commissioner of the outcome of the assessment or, if the notice is given before the medically retired member’s entitlement day, 28 days after the entitlement day.
Submitting an application
To start an application, you must fill in Form 15 – Lodgment of dispute with the Police Compensation Tribunal, which may be lodged in the Registry of the Commission by online lodgment, by email, by post or in person.
After you have submitted your Form 15, the Commission’s Registry will:
- check it to make sure that it contains all the required information;
- if the form is complete, send a copy of it to you for your records; and
- serve a copy of it on the respondent. There is no need for you to serve your Form 15 on the respondent unless you are instructed to do so. You will then be contacted by the Tribunal to arrange to have your dispute dealt with.
A person who is served a dispute is required to file an answering statement. The form for the answering statement is a Form 4 – Response (General).
Generally, the respondent is to file an answering statement within 21 days of the date of service of the dispute, unless an ex parte application for a shortened time period is filed and such application is granted.
A conciliation conference may be conducted by the Tribunal who considers the case from both sides and can help the parties make a genuine effort to solve their dispute.
The Tribunal will in most cases commence proceedings by calling a compulsory conciliation conference and require nominated persons to attend.
The Tribunal may issue a summons to attend conciliation proceedings under section 33ZZG of the Police Act 1892.
Conciliation conferences are private and are conducted on a 'without prejudice' basis. This means that what is discussed at a conciliation conference cannot be used against one of the parties if the matter goes to hearing. This allows the parties to explore possible settlement options without fear of the other side using any offers or concessions made at the conference as an admission to various aspects of a claim. The conference is not recorded, and no transcript is produced. Any visual or audio recording is strictly prohibited. An agreement may be reached during or after the conference, the parties have control over the outcome before the matter reaches the hearing stage. In contrast, if the matter goes to hearing, the Tribunal will decide the outcome of the matter.
For more information please read the Commission’s conciliation conference fact sheet by clicking here.
Possible outcomes of conciliation
- An agreement may be reached during or after the conference.
- If an agreement is not reached, the Tribunal may hold further conferences depending on the circumstances, or list the matter for hearing.
What is a hearing?
A hearing is where the Tribunal hears and determines the substance of the issues in dispute. Hearings are more formal than conciliation conferences and involve the Tribunal receiving arguments and evidence from both parties before making a binding decision on a matter. This usually takes place in a room that is similar to a court room. There are two types of hearings: interlocutory or preliminary hearings and substantive hearings.
Interlocutory or preliminary hearings
There may be issues that have to be determined by the Tribunal before the merits or substance of an application can be dealt with. These preliminary (or interlocutory) matters may relate to an issue with an applicant’s claim that needs to be resolved before the rest of the matter can proceed, such as an application for discovery of documents.
Some examples of preliminary issues include:
- whether the Tribunal has jurisdiction to deal with the application; or
- whether the dispute lodged with the Tribunal was lodged within the prescribed time.
There may be one or more interlocutory hearings before the substantive hearing to deal with preliminary or procedural issues.
A directions hearing is similar to a preliminary hearing, and is where the Tribunal will set out how the matter will progress. This can include setting out a timeline for when things ought to occur such as discovery, or when things are to be filed with the Tribunal, such as outlines of submissions or witness statements.
A substantive hearing is where the Tribunal hears and determines the substance or merits of the issues in dispute.