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Challenging an ACC decision

Appeal to District Court and higher courts

Accident Compensation Act 2001, ss 149–161

An independent review decision can be appealed to the District Court. This appeal is a rehearing, which means that the court will just look at the evidence that was given at the review, although the court does have a power to choose to receive further evidence. (A rehearing is different from a “de novo” hearing, which is where the parties present their cases and their evidence as if for the first time.)

What is the time limit for making an appeal?

Accident Compensation Act 2001, s 151

An appeal against a review decision must be made within 28 days after receiving the review decision, unless the court allows you to make a late appeal.

Who may appear at the court hearing?

Accident Compensation Act 2001, s 155

The person making the appeal and any other person who had a right to appear at the review may appear at the appeal in the District Court. They may come in person or appoint a representative. The representative doesn’t need to be a lawyer.

Note: Legal Aid may be available for an appeal of a review decision to the District Court (see: “Legal Aid and other legal help”).

What decisions can the District Court make?

Accident Compensation Act 2001, s 161

The District Court can:

  • dismiss the appeal
  • make changes to the review decision
  • cancel the review decision, and
    • endorse ACC‘s decision
    • require ACC to take certain action
    • require another review to be held.

Appeal from District Court to High Court

Accident Compensation Act 2001, s 162

The District Court’s decision can be appealed to the High Court, but only on a question of law.

If you want to appeal, you must get permission to appeal from the District Court. You have 21 days from the date of the District Court decision to apply for that permission. If the District Court refuses permission, then you may apply to the High Court for permission within 21 days of that refusal. If permission is given, you have 21 days to file the appeal in the High Court.

Appeal from High Court to Court of Appeal

Accident Compensation Act 2001, s 163

There is a final right of appeal to the Court of Appeal on a question of law. Again, there is a two-step process of first obtaining permission from the High Court, or from the Court of Appeal if the High Court refuses. Generally, no appeal may be brought after 28 days from the date of the High Court decision unless special leave is given by the High Court or Court of Appeal.

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Accident compensation (ACC)

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and information.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC)

ACC’s website provides information to help you navigate the ACC system. It includes information on the claims process, possible entitlements and how to resolve an issue with ACC.

Website: www.acc.co.nz

General questions 
Email: information@acc.co.nz
Phone: 04 816 7400
Claims helpline: 0800 101 996

Sensitive claims
Email: sensitiveclaims@acc.co.nz
Phone: 0800 735 566
Free therapy services for sensitive claims: www.findsupport.co.nz

Deaf services email: deaf@acc.co.nz

Language and cultural services phone:  0800 101 996

Request your personal information:  www.acc.co.nz/contact/request-for-personal-information

Way Finders

Way Finders is a free nationwide independent service that can provide you with general or specific advice about ACC and help you navigate the system.

Website: www.wayfinders.org.nz 
Email: info@wayfinders.org.nz
Phone: 0800 273 030

Talk Meet Resolve (TMR)

Talk Meet Resolve is a free independent nationwide service that can assist you in resolving your dispute with ACC.

Website: www.talkmeetresolve.co.nz
Email: info@talkmeetresolve.co.nz
Phone: 0800 119 221

Complete the webform: www.talkmeetresolve.co.nz/contact

Medical Council of NZ

The Medical Council of New Zealand is responsible for ensuring doctors are competent and fit to practise. The website contains a register of practising doctors.

Website: www.mcnz.org.nz

Health and Disability Commissioner

The Health and Disability Commissioner website sets out your rights under the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights and how you can make a complaint to the Commissioner.

Website: www.hdc.org.nz
Email: hdc@hdc.co.nz
Phone: 0800 119 221

To make a complaint online: www.hdc.org.nz/making-a-complaint/make-a-complaint-to-hdc

Privacy Commissioner

The Privacy Commissioner website provides information about your rights and responsibilities under the Privacy Act 2020 and the Privacy Principles. It also outlines the role of the Privacy Commissioner and how to make a privacy complaint.

Website: www.privacy.org.nz
Email: enquiries@privacy.org.nz
Phone: 0800 803 909

To make a complaint online: www.privacy.org.nz/your-rights/making-a-complaint

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