ACC disputes and reviews

Who is involved in an ACC review

There are a number of people involved in an ACC review, including the applicant, the reviewer or mediator, the resolution coordinator and ACC. Here is an overview of their roles.

The Applicant

The applicant is the person who has applied for a review of an ACC decision. The applicant's role is to establish their claim by explaining their case to the reviewer.

This applicant:

  • complies with the reviewer's instructions and directions
  • working with the resolution coordinator
  • sends any written submissions to:
    - the ACC representative
    - FairWay Resolution
    - other parties to the hearing
  • sending any written evidence to:
    - the ACC representative
    - FairWay Resolution
    - other parties to the hearing

Written submissions outline the parties' arguments in the case. These submissions help the applicant think through how they would like to present their arguements at the review hearing. They also help the reviewer  and the other parties understand the applicant's perspective.

Written evidence may include specialist assessments, doctors' reports, other medical opinions, costs and other documents that help establish the applicant's case.

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The Resolution Coordinator

The resolution coordinator from FairWay Resolution makes all the arrangements for review hearings and is involved throughout the process. Our resolution coordinators can help explain the process and what to expect next, but they cannot give advice about the review. 

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The Reviewer

The reviewer is responsible for conducting the review. They are an expert in accident compensation law and other relevant legislation.

The reviewer holds the hearing, makes directions to the parties and holds case conferences when needed. The reviewer's role is to be independent and impartial in deciding whether ACC's decision was correct.

The reviewer looks at all of the written sumbissions and other evidence to make a fresh decision. This can include upholding the original ACC decision, modifying it or overturning it. The reviewer may also make decisions about cost and payments.

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ACC

An ACC representative will also attend the hearing or mediation, either in person or by telephone. ACC's role is to explain its decision to the reviewer or mediator. Like the applicant, this includes:

  • complying with the reviewer's instructions and directions
  • working with the resolution coordinator
  • sending any written submissions to:
    - the ACC representative;
    - FairWay Resolution; and
    - other parties to the hearing.

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The Mediator

If the applicant and ACC have agreed to mediation, the mediator's role is to get the two parties talking.

They act as 'interpreter' by helping both sides understand the position of the other. The mediator doesn't make a decision about the dispute. If Mediation does not resolve the matters in dispute it will close when one or other of the parties wishes to withdraw or the Mediator determines that no further progress is likely - and closes the mediation. If an agreement can't be achieved the dispute will enter the more formal process of an ACC review.

To find out more, see our Mediation and ACC section.

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Others involved in the review

Review hearings are private. Neither the public nor the news media are entitled to be present.

However, legal representatives, support people, witnesses, experts and observers may be at the review if agreed. Usually you will need to notify FairWay Resolution or request permission for these people to attend. If you are unsure, talk to one of our Resolution Coordinators.

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Legal representatives and support people

Any party can bring someone to the hearing to speak on their behalf. This can be anyone that they authorise to speak for them, such as a solicitor, professional advocate, union representative, family member or a friend. If you are planning to use a lawyer or professional advocate, it is important to hire them as early as possible after applying for the review to avoid potential delays. This will also give legal representative as much time as possible to prepare for the hearing.

You can also bring along a support person, such as someone from your family/whanau. Please let the reviewer and other parties know at least 14 days before the hearing date if you plan to have a support person with you, including the name of the support person.

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Witnesses

Any party can bring witnesses to the hearing to support their case. Witnesses must be ready to be asked questions by the other parties. If you would like to have a witness or witnesses give evidence, please let the reviewer and other parties know at least 14 days before the hearing date. The names of the witnesses will need to be provided as well as details about what the witnesses' evidence will be.

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Experts

Both parties can ask experts (such as a doctor or technical expert) to provide evidence at the hearing. A written statement of this evidence should be sent to FairWay Resolution as early as possible before the hearing, but at least 14 days before the hearing.

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Observers

On rare occasions observers can attend hearings (usually for training purposes), but they can only stay if all of the parties give permission. Everyone will be told who the observers are and why they are at the hearing. Observers cannot participate in the proceedings and are not offically recorded as being there.

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