The Accident Compensation Committee monitors the application of the accident compensation scheme with reference to the purposes of the Act and the principles in the Woodhouse Report 1967. The Committee makes submissions on proposed legislative changes which impact on the scheme and liaises with the Accident Compensation Corporation and the Minister for ACC where operations or policy undermine New Zealand’s unique social contract relating to personal injury.
The New Zealand Law Society has actively contributed to accident compensation (ACC) law reform since the inception of the statutory accident compensation scheme in 1974.
The ACC Committee was established in 1990 to consider issues arising from proposed legislative reforms, in particular the Rehabilitation and Incapacity Bill 1990 which, if enacted, would have resulted in substantial changes to the review process and to the scope of the scheme.
Since its inception the committee has played an important role in monitoring this continually evolving and complex area of law and dealing with ongoing challenges to the scheme.
Peter Sara is convenor of the committee. He has specialised in ACC work for many years, including being involved in making submissions on ACC law reform on behalf of the former District Law Societies and since 2009 the NZLS Committee.
Peter is ably supported by committee members who bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience in ACC law:
In the past 18 months the committee has worked to identify barriers to access to justice and to the effective administration of justice.
In 2020, the committee asked the government to consider a complete review of the Accident Compensation Act 2001 (as amended), as a potential new reference for the Law Commission. The committee also wrote to the Minister to suggest proactive ACC law reforms (including in relation to Supreme Court appeal pathways, delays in primary entitlement decisions, and enforceability of review officer decisions).