An ACC review is a legal process where both you and ACC meet with an independent, unbiased FairWay Resolution reviewer. Reviewers are provided for under Part 5 of the Accident Compensation Act 2001.
The reviewer considers all of the information about your case and makes a decision. This includes upholding the original decision, modifying the original decision, or overturning it. The reviewer can also make a decision about costs and payments.
Any party may choose to have a lawyer or advocate represent them during a review, but representation is not compulsory. Some reviews can be complex and parties may benefit from representation.
Any decision made by the reviewer is binding. If you disagree with the review decision, you can make an appeal by applying to the District Court, where applicable, within 28 days of the review decision.
Mediation or facilitation may also be an option for resolving the dispute. If you would like more information about mediation or facilitation, please contact us. Please also see the Frequently Asked Questions section of this booklet for additional information on mediation and facilitation.
You must apply to ACC for a review within three months of their decision about your case. In special circumstances, ACC can extend this time, but you should not rely on this.
How an ACC review works
Here is a step-by-step guide to how the ACC review process works:
You lodge your review application with ACC. You must apply to ACC for a review within three months of the date of its decision. In special circumstances, ACC can accept a late application but you should not rely on this.
ACC acknowledges your application and sends the claim file to FairWay Resolution. Once you have applied for a review, you can expect a response from ACC within a month. Please contact ACC if you have not heard from them by then.
FairWay Resolution contacts you and ACC when it receives the file.
A FairWay Resolution Coordinator arranges the date, time, venue and other details of a hearing. This may be done by phone, fax or email, or with a letter of confirmation.
ACC gives copies of the documents that were used to make the decision about the claim (often the claimant's file) to everyone involved.
If necessary, a case conference is held to address particular matters before the hearing.
The hearing takes place. Or, if the parties agree, a decision is made without a hearing, in which case, the reviewer bases their decision on the written information provided by you and ACC. This is called a decision made 'on the papers'.
The reviewer makes a decision within 28 days of the close of the hearing.
FairWay Resolution sends copies of the decision to you and ACC and, if applicable, will include information about the right of appeal to the District Court. Appeal rights are discussed in more detail on our ACC decisions and appeals page.
Who can apply for a review?
You can apply for a review if you are:
- a client (or representative) with an ACC decision on a claim
- an employer challenging cover for a work injury
- a client (or representative) who believes there has been an unreasonable delay by ACC in making a decision
- a levy payer disagreeing with the levy paid or payable
- a registered health professional or organisation disputing involvement in an injury caused by medical error (for decisions relating to claims lodged with ACC prior to 1 July 2005).
FairWay Resolution must make the arrangements for a hearing date wiithin three months of the review application, but the hearing may not necessarily occur within three months. The review hearing itself will happen on whatever date that all parties agree with, or if they cannot agree, the reviewer will set a date.
Hearings are usually scheduled in one-hour time blocks. Some only take a few minutes while others take much longer. It is important to allow plenty of time for delays on the day of the hearing.
Can a review hearing be delayed?
Yes. The reviewer can decide to delay, or adjourn, the hearing.
If anyone cannot attend a hearing on the scheduled date, they need to let FairWay Resolution know in writing before the date to explain why and ask for the hearing to be delayed.
If you want to delay your hearing, you should clearly explain:
- why you cannot attend the hearing (for example, because of a family bereavement or illness); and
- the earliest date you are available for a new hearing.
The reviewer will then consider the request and whether any of the other parties either agree or disagree with the delay. The hearing can only be delayed - 'adjourned' - by the reviewer. If the hearing is adjourned, FairWay Resolution will send a letter to all parties explaining why. In most cases, the letter will also include a new hearing date.