Example of proceedings for an asbestos-related claim

   
The following is a demonstration of the timetable for a typical asbestos-related Claim. It may not apply to every case heard by the Tribunal.

For full information on proceedings at the Tribunal, refer to the 'Relevant legislation' panel (on right).

Statement of Claim

A case is initiated by the plaintiff lodging a Statement of Claim form at the Tribunal registry with the appropriate fee. All forms are available for download (along with a schedule of fees) at ‘Forms & Fees’.

All parties (plaintiffs and defendants) should consider obtaining legal representation (see ‘Legal Assistance’). Plaintiffs need to ensure that their Claims comply with the requirements of the relevant legislation, particularly in respect of the timeframes for submitting forms and other supporting documents.

At the outset of Claim, the plaintiff is required to file and serve on the defendants the CRP Form 1 (see 'Forms & Fees') Statement of Particulars within a certain time. The plaintiff (or their legal representative) must then notify the Tribunal, in writing, of the date the Statement of Particulars document was served on all defendants. The CRP timetable will then begin, requiring a series of steps to be followed, towards the settlement or hearing of the Claim.

A defendant may require the plaintiff to attend a medical examination.

Reply

Each defendant, after being served with the plaintiff’s Statement of Particulars, should consider filing a CRP Form 2 Reply (see 'Forms & Fees') within the time required by the legislation.

All parties to a Claim can try to negotiate a settlement at any time, without having to continue through to a Mediation or Hearing.

Contributions assessment

Where a Claim is against more than one defendant, they must all agree on how any liability will be divided between them (in terms of percentage). This must occur within timeframe.

The Registrar must be notified of any agreement prior to the relevant CRP deadline. Otherwise, a Contributions Assessor will be appointed by the Registrar to decide on the percentage of liability for each defendant.

Mediation

If the parties cannot agree within the CRP timeframe on a settlement for the Claim or on a Mediator, then the matter will be handed over to the Registrar to arrange Mediation. 

A Mediator appointed by the Registrar will hold a Mediation session at a time agreed by the parties, with the aim of reaching a settlement without the need for a Hearing. 

If the parties do agree on a settlement, then they must put the terms in writing using a Consent Order form (see 'Forms & Fees'). If the Mediation is not successful, the Mediator must notify the Registrar that the Claim was not settled and also note the issues that remain in dispute.

The CRP is now finished and the claim must be given 'Directions' by the Tribunal (see 'Directions hearings' below), in order to progress the matter towards a resolution.

Settlement

Once an Agreement has been put into writing in a Consent Order form (see 'Forms & Fees') and signed by all parties, it must be filed with the Tribunal together with a Consent Judgment form (see 'Forms & Fees').

An appointment will then be made with a Registrar or Judge (depending on the nature of the agreement), who will examine the Agreement (known as the 'orders') and, if appropriate, enter a 'Consent Judgment' to finalise the Claim.

Directions hearing

To apply for a Hearing date, a Notice of  Motion form (see 'Forms & Fees') should be completed and filed with the Registrar (fees apply). When a Claim remains subject to the CRP, special conditions are attached to an application for a Directions Hearing (see Dust Diseases Tribunal Regulation 2013 for further information).

A Directions Hearing is a preliminary mention of the Claim in Court, where a party formally asks the Judge to Order that certain steps take place to progress the case (for example, that a particular timetable is implemented). The Judge will ask the other parties for comment and then decide on a course of action. Parties must proceed to prepare their case and comply with these Orders.

In cases where a plaintiff may have only months to live, the CRP can be foregone. To do this, the case must be listed for a Directions Hearing, so the Judge can consider whether the case is urgent.

An application must first be made by Notice of Motion (see 'Forms & Fees') with supporting Affidavit and medical evidence. If the Judge agrees to remove the matter from the CRP, the gravely ill plaintiff's evidence can, when requested, be taken at bedside. The taking of other evidence can also be ordered deferred to a later date, if appropriate.

Directions hearings are usually held on Tuesdays.

Relevant legislation

A selection of laws and rules that apply to the Tribunal.   

Dust Diseases Tribunal Act 1989    

Dust Diseases Tribunal Regulation 2013    

Dust Diseases
Tribunal Rules
   

Civil Procedure Act 2005     

Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005     

Also see publications for legal reference information.

Dust Diseases Tribunal (Standard Presumptions -Apportionment) Order 2007