The Dust Diseases Tribunal of NSW is a Court that has exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine damages claims for those who have been affected by dust diseases including diseases related to asbestos exposure and claims made by the dependants of those who have died from dust diseases.
Dust Diseases Tribunal Act 1989, provides the Tribunal with exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine claims for damages for dust related diseases.
What is a Dust Disease? Schedule 1 of the Dust Diseases Tribunal Act 1989 prescribes the types of dust diseases that can be considered by the Tribunal.
There is often a long time between exposure to the dust, the appearance of symptoms and the diagnosis of a condition. For this reason, a special provision in the legislation allows claims for dust-related conditions to be bought at any time.
The Limitation Act 1969 does not operate to prevent the bringing or maintenance of dust-related proceedings.
The legislation also provides for an award of provisional damages where a person is currently suffering from a dust disease, but can also prove there is a chance that some time in the future, it is possible the same person could develop another dust disease.
The Tribunal aims to provide a just, quick and cheap resolution of the real issues in dispute. Many people who lodge a claim are dying from their illnesses. It is in the interests of justice that their claims are heard quickly.
There are different procedures for
asbestos exposure related cases and those cases that involve
exposure to other dusts.
In many asbestos-related cases there can be swift progression towards death after initial diagnosis. Different provisions apply to prioritise claims so that those plaintiffs whose life-expectancy is shortest are dealt with more swiftly.
The Tribunal Judges often hold plaintiff bedside hearings at any time of the day and night, seven days a week.
There are facilities to take evidence via video link up. Allowing witnesses in remote locations, both within Australia and overseas to appear in the Court room and give evidence. This saves the time and cost of getting a witness to come to the courtroom. For further information please see
The Tribunal also maintains a sick room, with an oxygen concentrator, that is upon request available for the use of gravely ill plaintiffs.