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Workers' compensation

Assessment criteria

For legal aid to be granted for representation before a Medical Assessment Tribunal or a workers compensation appeal to the industrial magistrate the following tests must be satisfied:

Documentary requirements

Application received from client

Applicants seeking a grant of legal assistance should forward all of the following documents for assessment:

  • A completed and signed Legal Aid Queensland application form.
  • Proof of income and assets (refer to the means test).
  • Copies of all relevant documentation relating to the decisions of WorkCover and Q-Comp.
  • Details why the applicant considers the decision of Q-Comp to be wrong.

Application received from preferred supplier or in-house practitioners

Practitioners seeking a grant of legal assistance should electronically submit an application for aid via the Grants Online system along with:

  • Proof of income and assets (refer to the means test).
  • Copies of all relevant documentation relating to the decisions of WorkCover and Q-Comp, and
  • Details why why the applicant considers the decision of Q-Comp to be wrong.

The practitioner must also ensure that the following documents are retained on file:

  • A completed and signed Legal Aid Queensland application form.

Interpretation

Legal aid funding is not available for workers compensation matters that are being dealt with under WorkCover or Q-Comp. Legal aid is only available if a matter is appealed to the Industrial Magistrates Court or matters before the Medical Assessment Tribunal.

Appeals to the industrial magistrate

An industrial magistrate will usually consider issues of law such as whether a person is a ‘worker’ as defined in the Act or whether he/she has sustained an ‘injury’ under the Act.

When determining whether funding should be provided, Legal Aid Queensland will consider the reasons for the decision of WorkCover or Q-Comp in refusing the claim for compensation, any medical reports and the applicant’s reasons as to why they believe the decision of WorkCover or Q-Comp to be incorrect.

Medical assessment tribunals

The function of the Medical Assessment Tribunal (MAT) is to determine the worker’s work-related impairment arising from the injury sustained.

When determining whether funding should be provided, Legal Aid Queensland will consider any pre-existing condition or subsequent injuries the applicant may have sustained.

A copy of the applicant’s WorkCover file is required so that all the medical evidence in possession of WorkCover can be perused.

Grant(s) of aid

The grant of aid to investigate and prepare for workers compensation to industrial magistrate up to day one is W11.

The grant of aid for an applicant to be represented before a Medical Assessment Tribunal is W21.

Extension(s) of aid

The grant of aid for additional days of a workers compensation hearing before an industrial magistrate is W12.

Counsel

Aid for counsel is only available in a workers compensation matter before an industrial magistrate where the matter is a test case or is highly complex. The grant of aid for counsel for day one is W13 and additional days is W14.

Retrospective contributions

Grants of legal assistance for these types of matters may be approved on the condition that the applicant will pay a retrospective contribution.

Review of decisions

A decision to refuse legal aid for this type of matter may be appealed to the external review officer (refer to review of decisions).

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