As many people would know on 19 June 2012 the workers compensation legislation in NSW underwent extensive changes. The purpose of the changes in the legislation was to stop a trend which was seeing the workers compensation system becoming non-sustainable. The WorkCover Independent Review Office (WIRO) was established to oversee and manage the changes in the legislation. It facilitates the access to independent advice by awarding grants through the Independent Legal Assistance Review Service (ILARS). The main changes that affected most workers (other than emergency employees) were:
On 29 August 2014, representatives of Gerard Malouf & Partners attended the WIRO Seminar & Workshop held at the WatervieW, Bicentenial Park. The day-long conference looked at what had occurred in the year the new system had been fully implemented and what problems had been identified.
Plaintiff practitioners have identified many problems with the system that has led difficulties for injured workers to find legal representation due to the lack of legal funding. Gerard Malouf & Partners, who are always prepared to fight for the average workers stood up and challenged the presenters during question time.
Statistics were shown that 90% of ILARS applications were approved. In response to that statistic Gerard Malouf & Partners asked:
“ What about the applications that do not get approved, and the practitioner takes it upon himself to continue to represent the worker in a dispute and is ultimately successful?”
This was an important question for both practitioners and workers because as it stands now, unless the legal practitioner has been approved with a grant, they will not be paid for their service or disbursements even if they are successful because grant applications are not retrospective.
This must have been a question on many plaintiff practitioners minds because the response was that there is now consideration for applications which were originally denied, which are ultimately successful to be availed a grant in retrospect. This indicates that there must have been many applications seeking a grant following a successful dispute resolution.