Arbitration is a formal proceeding at which evidence is heard and a legally qualified Arbitrator makes a final determination.
The primary role of the Workers’ Compensation Arbitration Service (WCAS) is to make determinations on workers’ compensation disputes, which are legally binding upon parties.
A dispute must have been conciliated by the Workers’ Compensation Conciliation Service (or a certificate issued by the Director of Conciliation advising the matter is not suitable for conciliation) before an application can be made to the WCAS.
Arbitration can be a complex, costly and time-consuming process. Parties are encouraged to resolve disputes, independently of the WCAS, at any time in the process.To start arbitration –
For more information on the WCAS and lodging an application for arbitration, see the Guide to the Workers’ Compensation Arbitration Service.
See the full conciliation and arbitration Process Chart.
Arbitrators are legal practitioners who make determinations (called orders) based upon evidence, facts and law. Arbitrators:
- are not to attempt to resolve any matter in dispute by conciliation
- may confirm, vary or revoke a payment direction made by a conciliation officer
- are not permitted to speak to parties about the dispute outside of an official proceeding (called a hearing)
- make final and binding decisions upon parties.
Practice Notes are a common regulatory tool used in most courts and tribunals. They are a less formal, directive instrument used to regulate practice and procedure. Practice Notes are typically descriptive procedural documents that relate to a specific issue.
Section 294 of the Act authorises the Registrar, Arbitration to issue Practice Notes about the practice and procedure of arbitrators. The purpose of issuing Practice Notes is part of the WCAS’s continuing efforts to improve the efficiency, consistency and functioning of the Service.
- Practice Note – Interlocutory applications, procedures and consultation
- Practice Note – Correspondence with the Arbitration Service
A list of Standard Orders to assist parties with formulating consent orders in appropriate circumstances can be found here.
An appeal may be made to the District Court of Western Australia:
- where a question of law is involved and defined financial thresholds are met; or
- where a question of law is involved and, in the opinion of the District Court the matter is of such importance that, in the public interest, an appeal should lie.
In any other case, leave to appeal may be granted where a question of law is involved.
An appeal to the District Court must be made within 28 days from the date on which the Arbitrator provides the parties with the written reasons for the determination. The District Court may affirm, vary, quash or substitute the original Arbitrator decision.
For more information, see the Appeal court decisions page.