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TAS Centrelink Disability Support Pension (DSP) Dispute to Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)

Discussion in 'Other/General Law Forum' started by Jenny P, 23 November 2014.

  1. Jenny P

    Jenny P Active Member

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    I was ordered by the Tribunal in a Disability Support Pension dispute to supply a "Medico Legal Report" which upon investigation can only be obtained by the 'expert Psychiatrist' by getting a 'letter of request' drawn up and signed by a lawyer. No "free' legal service was able to do this, so borrowed money and appointed a private lawyer, for which Centrelink said I could be compensated for later. (but of course deny telling me that.). I applied for an extension of time to deliver the 'report' as the 6 weeks the AAT gave was not enough.

    I also explained the costs and difficulties of complying with the order in the timeframe. Through another 'directions order' the AAT decide to overtake to 'save me the costs' so they say, and appoint their own lawyer (registrar) to do the letter for which the 'Member' would settle all the terms of the content of the letter. I cancel my lawyer who has already done a draft of the 'letter of request' and charged me $2000 for his research and time. Also the AAT and Centrelink lawyer feared at the 'directions hearing' for this that any 'medico legal report' I acquired through my instructions to a private lawyer would probably be of no value. The lawyer at the AAT has refused to sign the letter she wrote and therefore the Psychiatrist will not provide a 'legal report'. Now the AAT tell me I can go to hearing with or without the 'Medico Legal Report".

    Now how do I get compensated for the $2000 I lost?
     
  2. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Did the AAT make any cost orders? It should have been attached to the original order to make the Medico Legal Report.
     
  3. Amanda E

    Amanda E Well-Known Member

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    Hi, to add to the above:
    Did you note down the Centrelink telephone call details - date, time, who you spoke to and their advice to you about being compensated for the private lawyer? You may be able to prove that you've suffered a financial loss as a direct result of a mistake made by Centrelink - then you might claim compensation under the scheme for Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration (CDDA). See the Department of Human Services' "Claiming compensation from us" page and the Department of Finance "The Scheme for Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration (the CDDA Scheme)" page.

    Have you also discussed with the private lawyer whether there's any leeway with those fees?
     
  4. Jenny P

    Jenny P Active Member

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    There was no cost orders.
    The 'directions order' stated 'expert report' I was then rung by the AAT that this meant a 'Medico Legal Report'. They referred me to 'free' legal service agencies to get what I needed, but none would touch it. One lawyer said he never heard of a 'Medico Legal Report' being obtained for Centrelink purposes. Most said only applicable to 'Workers comp' cases or injury claims and only dealt with between lawyers. But the AAT said otherwise. Anyway have contacted the Commonwealth Ombudsman who will investigate. It may well be a case that the AAT have made an 'order' in error as I knew prior to the AAT sending me on this quest that a general 'expert report' to a specialist in order to address Social security law anyone can write and sign, but as the name implies a 'Legal report" requires a lawyer. Thankyou for your response.
     
  5. Jenny P

    Jenny P Active Member

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    Thankyou for your advice. The Compensation for Centrelink rejected my claim saying it was a personal choice to get a private lawyer. Which was not the case. No 'free' legal agency would touch anything to do with a 'Medico Legal Report.
    Have contacted the Commonwealth Ombudsman today which have requested the 'rejection' letter from Compo and will investigate the matter. Luckily they could confirm a call I made regarding claiming costs prior to the Centrelink Compensation contact. Centrelink say that they told me I couldn't be refunded. So now the 'notes' from the 2 departments don't match. .Personally I think the the AAT acted in 'error' to what they 'ordered' me to get, but fail to admit it.I have names, dates. I document everything. ....luckily.
     
  6. Jenny P

    Jenny P Active Member

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    This case before the AAT is such a mess. They are now waiting on me to when it goes to hearing. This is all about having a Disability support pension rejection being reviewed. Upon investigating all the documents, there is no specific start date for the DSP claim. Can I put a request into the Tribunal to have this decided on FIRST before proceeding further into a proper hearing. I can't see how either the Centrelink Lawyer (the respondent) nor myself can build a case without having a definite 'start date' that we both agree on. It just doesn't make any sense.

    Would it be a matter of seeking an 'order' to this effect? And if so, how do I do this?
     
  7. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Yes, you can ask the AAT to stay the hearing in order to answer this question on start date. However, given that the AAT is not a court and very flexible, chances are, they will just determine this issue first, as part of the hearing, and then move on the other issues.
     
  8. Jenny P

    Jenny P Active Member

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    Thank you for your answer. After the start date is 'fixed', It will mean a lot of the medical documents used to support Centrelink's defence will and should be marked irrelevant to this case. Can I request that the documents being used as evidence be re-evaluated before proceeding further? Once we have a proper start date, and the 'correct' documents are identified as evidence, as well as the non contentious issues identified, can I request an adjournment. Having an 'exact' date changes everything. Could I request that a new 'directions order' be put in place so that both parities can re submit a 'statement of facts and contentions' based on the 'correct issues'? Not being a lawyer I find the court room intimidating and am not quick to think on my feet. If it is all in writing at least I have a 'heads up' about what to expect if it goes to hearing. Can we settle in part some of the issues at the hearing and request an adjournment for the rest of issues?
     
  9. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    The AAT will be looking to settle the matter as quickly as possible as efficiency is one of it's main concerns. Therefore, I would stay away from requesting too many adjournments unless you have good reason to adjourn.

    What do you mean re-evaluating the documents? In the AAT, the evidence rules are much more lenient and the tribunal will consider generally all documents that are relevant. If you have a problem with a particular document, you can raise this with the Tribunal.

    I am not too familiar with the AAT process in Tasmania. As such, I suggest you call up the Tribunal and enquire.

    This page off their website may also help: "Steps in a review"
     

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