Weeks 2: Legislative reforms and statutory compensation schemes
This is just a brief post to fill in the gap between the introduction of the concepts of tort and the start of consideration of intentional torts to persons. The Topic 2 material focused on changes in legislation in the 2002-2003 period which mainly instigated due to the alleged insurance crisis, which may not have been the crisis it was made out to be due to media hype. However there is no denying that a review of the tort compensation system was required due to how inefficient the system had become and the fine line been trodden as to what was considered fault.
I found the material very interesting, especially the mention of the fact that Australia had been considering a no fault statutory compensation scheme, similar to that currently implemented in New Zealand back in 1974. This would have been a national scheme, similar to a number of systems/schemes that were being implemented by the government that was in power at the time (i.e. Medibank/Medicare, free University). With the statutory compensation schemes that we have today the nearest to this system is the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which is still in the process of being rolled out as I write this. Alternately across the states we have motor accident schemes, criminal injuries compensation, workers compensation, and Social Security. However each of these compensation schemes is implemented differently by each state and jurisdiction, and the requirements, level of compensation and intricacies of the individual schemes varies for each. However the good thing about these systems is that they provide the public purse to ensure that compensation will be received by successful plaintiffs, and when there is need for periodic payments this requirement can be met by the schemes.
During the readings for this week I would have to say the challenge that I have had to overcome is the preconceptions and bias that I had formed from hearing about the 2002-2003 “insurance crisis” from the media as it happened. This only provided me with part of the picture, which has started to become more fleshed out as a result of this week’s readings. And I suppose as far as any flashes of inspiration the only one that springs to mind is the realisation that the statutory compensation schemes as a whole all appear to be no-fault, and as such this is one of the major benefits they have over accessing of compensation via the tort system.