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Communtity Law Manual | Accident compensation (ACC) | Mediation and other alternative ways of resolving disputes

Challenging an ACC decision

Mediation and other alternative ways of resolving disputes

Accident Compensation Act 2001, s 299

Note: Mediation on ACC issues is voluntary. It can only happen if both you and ACC are willing to do it.

To settle disputes without them having to go to a full independent review, ACC offers mediation and other alternative dispute resolution methods.

ACC uses three different organisations for this: Fairway Resolution and the Independent Complaint and Review Authority (ICRA), both of which also do independent reviews, and an organisation called “Talk Meet Resolve”, which specialises in conciliation.

Mediation: Helping the two sides come to an agreement

Mediation is a way of resolving a dispute. A neutral person – the mediator – helps you and ACC discuss the problem, identify what you disagree about, and try to come up with an agreed settlement. The mediator guides the discussion, but they don’t decide what will happen. You and ACC decide together, unless both sides decide to ask the mediator to make a decision.

When will mediation be available to me?

Mediation is available if you’ve applied for an independent review. In this case mediation is arranged by the independent reviewer (see “Independent reviews / The reviewer” in this section).

You can also ask ACC to provide mediation services if you’re unhappy about an ACC decision but haven’t yet applied for an independent review. In this case mediation is arranged by ACC.

Mediation is only appropriate when there’s some scope for negotiation between the two sides, like where ACC has some discretion under the Accident Compensation Act. Mediation isn’t appropriate if the ACC laws and regulations set out detailed rules that limit what ACC can decide, like whether or not you have ACC cover. Any agreement that you reach at mediation has to be consistent with the ACC laws.

Conciliation: Proactively helping you find a solution

Another alternative process for resolving disputes is “conciliation”. This is similar to mediation (see above), but the independent person helping you (the conciliator) plays a more active role in helping you and ACC come to an agreed resolution of your own.

The conciliator will be an expert in the ACC scheme and the laws that govern it. They will propose ways of resolving the dispute.

Facilitation: Helping you work out what the dispute is about

“Facilitation” is a process for working out a way forward when the two sides have different ideas about what the issues are. If you and ACC are having trouble agreeing on what the issues are and so having difficulty understanding each other, facilitation might be suggested to you as the next best step.

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