Supplementary Common Law Protocols

In the last 15 years we have seen how the TAC Protocols have improved access to justice for our clients and delivered entitlements faster, by working efficiently with plaintiff solicitors.

As part of the TAC’s 2020 strategy we have a goal of getting our clients’ lives back on track sooner. Nobody chooses to be in an accident and as a social insurer, the TAC is committed to supporting those impacted by road trauma.

Our approach to this has been to better understand the needs of our clients in order to better tailor our response to those needs. That is also at the core of our approach to delivering common law compensation. There are some TAC clients who, by virtue of their injuries, have a clear entitlement to common law compensation.

The Supplementary Protocols aims to identify those clients with a clear serious injury earlier, and recognise their common law eligibility sooner.

Common law compensation is something that the TAC jointly delivers with plaintiff solicitors and we feel that this is another improvement in how we can do that for a cohort of TAC clients, who have a clear eligibility for common law compensation.

The Supplementary Common Law Protocols were developed collaboratively by representatives from the TAC, ALA and LIV. They will be reviewed within 12 months of coming into operation.

Information sessions

The TAC, ALA, and LIV are committed to supporting practitioners to understand the changes to the Protocols.

An information session was held on 13 December 2019 at which the TAC, ALA and LIV presented a summary of changes arising out of the Supplementary Protocols. This was also an opportunity for attendees to ask questions about the Supplementary Protocols.

A video of the presentation held at the Law Institute of Victoria is available below.

TAC Protocols

In 2005 the Protocols were established by agreement between the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) and Law Institute of Victoria (LIV).  The Protocols were designed to provide an efficient, expeditious and transparent process to deliver appropriate benefits and compensation to people who sustain injury as a consequence of a transport accident (claimants).

Over the last 10 years the Protocols have improved benefit delivery to claimants and successfully reduced legal costs, disputes and lengthy litigation.

To develop the 2016 Protocols, representatives from the TAC, ALA and LIV worked together to identify ways to enhance the operation of the Protocols and further improve the efficient and effective delivery of outcomes for TAC claimants.

In partnership, TAC, ALA and LIV developed joint commitments, success measures and endorsed the revised 2016 Protocols.  All Protocol applications lodged with the TAC on or after 1 July 2016 are pursuant to the revised Protocols.

The 2016 Common Law Protocols introduced the new concept of a serious injury conference (chapter 11) as a two-year pilot. The serious injury conference pilot was subsequently reviewed in June 2018 and, based on its success, TAC, ALA and LIV agreed to include it as a permanent feature of the 2016 Common Law Protocols.

Details regarding the 2020, 2016 and 2005 Protocol agreements are provided below.

Supplementary Common Law Protocols 2020

The Supplementary Common Law Protocols are to be read in conjunction with the 2016 Protocols. They do not replace the 2016 Protocols.

They are intended to provide a process for the following scenarios which are not covered by the 2016 Common Law Protocols:

  • Proactive common law eligibility decisions;
  • A ‘fast track’ process for serious injury applications;
  • Partial common law settlements; and
  • Interim common law payments.

All Protocol applications lodged with the TAC on or after 1 January 2020 will be pursuant to both the 2016 Protocols and the Supplementary Common Law Protocols.

Protocols 2016

All Protocol applications lodged with the TAC on or after 1 July 2016 will be pursuant to the 2016 Protocols. The 2016 Protocols consist of the following four documents:

Common law protocols financial documents guide

If you are submitting a serious injury application involving an economic loss, it will assist the TAC and avoid delays if you include supporting financial documents in the application.  This guide lists the documents that will assist the TAC.

Forms

Supplementary common law protocols 2020

Protocol price points

Legal costs for all Protocol applications on or after 1 July 2016 (includes 1 July 2019 Indexation):

Counsel fees for Common Law Protocols 2013 - 2020 (updated January 2020)

Transition period

Applications lodged prior to 1 July 2016 will continue to be governed by the 2005 Protocols. However, in order to support the transition and avoid any potential delays for claimants, it was agreed that the TAC will pay the increased price points for all Protocol applications lodged on or after 29 February 2016.

All costs below reflect the CPI inflation index updated from 1 January 2016.

Transitional Legal  costs applicable to Protocol applications lodged for the period 29 February 2016 to 30 June 2016

The impairment bypass and serious injury conference uplifts will not apply until the revised Protocols commence on 1 July 2016.

Protocols 2016 Process Maps

The 2016 Process flows describe the steps and decisions in the process for each of the Protocols.

Protocols 2005

Please see below for information applicable to Protocols applications lodged prior to 1 July 2016.

Protocols 2005 Price points

Legal costs for all Protocol applications lodged before 29 February 2016:

Information sessions

The TAC, ALA, and LIV are committed to supporting practitioners to understand the changes to the Protocols.

Information sessions were held in May and June 2016 at which the TAC, ALA and LIV presented a summary of the changes to the Protocols. This was also an opportunity for attendees to ask questions about the revised Protocols.

A video of the presentation held on 8 June 2016 at WorkSafe Office, 222 Exhibition Street Melbourne is available below.

Protocols Support

Sometimes a legal practitioner may consider the conduct of a TAC employee to be inconsistent with the TAC’s values. Please refer to this document for guidance on how to raise this with the TAC.

The following document provides avenues of resolution where parties may be unable to reach agreement on Protocol costs and disbursements.

A dedicated email address has also been created by the LIV for Protocol enquiries: Protocol-enquiries@liv.asn.au

ALA and LIV members may refer issues and/or improvement opportunities to this address. All emails will be referred to the respective Committees for consideration and where appropriate, referred to the Protocol Forum or Legal Liaison Group.