Administrative law challenges to merit reviews

All merit reviews by us are potentially subject to administrative law judicial review in the NSW Supreme Court. In this process, a party may seek orders that a decision should be set aside and sent back to us for a fresh decision to be made.

Whenever a challenge is finalised, regardless of the outcome, an assessment is undertaken of the impact of the judicial review decision. This includes:

  • the potential impact of the finalised challenge on the dispute,
  • the potential impact upon the functions of the Merit Review Service, and
  • the potential impact upon the scheme more broadly

An appropriate response is developed and then implemented. This includes publishing relevant information on the website as part of our ongoing efforts to continue to support improved decision making by parties, insurers and administrative decision makers to help minimise scheme disputation.

Of the thousands of applications for merit review finalised by us, there’s been only one Administrative Law challenge decided by the Court. This was the CSR v Busbridge decision.

CSR v Busbridge

On 11 September 2015, Supreme Court Justice Hamill handed down his decision in CSR Limited v Busbridge [2015] NSWSC 1268.

The self-insurer challenged the Merit Review Service (MRS) decision about the worker's entitlement to weekly payments of compensation, with the insurer seeking to have the decision set aside and remitted back to the MRS to be decided afresh.

There were three grounds claimed in support of the judicial review and in the decision Justice Hamill found that none of those grounds were made out. As a result the Court dismissed the summons and ordered the insurer to pay the worker's costs.


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